Late-rising Scottish shoppers have triggered a surge in Boxing Day bargain-hunters compared to south of the Border.
The traditional start of the post-Christmas sales saw 3 per cent more people in stores by mid-afternoon compared to last year, retail performance analysts reported.
By contrast, the figures from Springboard also revealed footfall was down 5 per cent across the UK.
Shopping centres across in Scotland reported early-morning queues from 4am.
Intu, which runs out-of-town centres such as Scotland’s biggest at Braehead, near Renfrew, reported an 8.5 per cent increase in shoppers.
Regional centre director Peter Beagley added: “People were driving into our free car parks at 5am queuing for the Next store to open at 6am.
“By mid-afternoon it was evident that as well as the early-morning bargain hunters, even more people decided to go shopping at intu Braehead later in the day. It’s certainly the case that Boxing Day this year is busier than last year.”
Phil Goodman, centre director at Glasgow Fort, said: “It’s been very busy and we will probably beat our estimate of about 50,000 people, which would give us growth of 5 per cent on last year. My suspicion is sales growth will probably outstrip that.
A spokeswoman for Fort Kinnaird in Edinburgh, where 500 people queued from 4am for Next to open at 6am, said it been a similar picture there.
Silverburn, in Glasgow, said 1,000 had gathered from 4:45am, 45 minutes before Next opened its doors.
Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle: “Scotland’s footfall has really bounced back, from -3.8 per cent up to 12pm to +3 per cent up to 3pm, so clearly shoppers came out late.
“The largest shift has been in high streets (-7.4 per cent up to 12pm and +7.4 per cent up to 3pm).
“Footfall in retail parks has risen 1.4 per cent up to 3pm, which contrasts with the UK as a whole, down 4.3 per cent.
“We did anticipate a drop in footfall on Boxing Day this year, but the scale of the drop [across the UK] is greater than expected.”
However, the Chartered Institute of Marketing said the Boxing Day sales were losing their appeal.
Trustee Allyson Stewart-Allen said: “The move to online and mobile shopping is part of the story behind falling footfall on the high street.
“Christmas marketing campaigns now run from Black Friday right through to the January sales and there are great discounts to be had throughout this period.
“The emergence of the permanent Christmas sale means that there is much less of an incentive for the average shopper to venture out bargain hunting on Boxing Day.
“Consumers know they can pick up great deals throughout November, December and January, causing traditional peak sales days like Boxing Day to lose their impact.”