Scottish high streets braced for last-minute '˜Scary Sunday' shoppers

Scottish retailers are set for a flurry of last-minute panic buyers today as customers prepare to shell out on Christmas presents.
Christmas shoppers thronging Buchanan Street in Glasgow yesterday. Photograph: John DevlinChristmas shoppers thronging Buchanan Street in Glasgow yesterday. Photograph: John Devlin
Christmas shoppers thronging Buchanan Street in Glasgow yesterday. Photograph: John Devlin

Desperate gift-buyers will be searching frantically for bargains on the back of yesterday being one of the busiest shopping days of the year, with consumers spending millions.

Crowds flocked to shopping centres across the country as ‘Super Saturday’ fever took hold.

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However, today has been labelled ‘Scary Sunday’ with most stores closing at 4pm, prompting a mad dash for presents.

Christine Macdonald, marketing manager for intu Braehead, yesterday said that she expected to see an “army of guys” hitting the shops today.

She added: “We were extremely busy yesterday on the final full day of Christmas shopping.

“But if husbands, sons, brothers and boyfriends were nowhere to be seen, you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll be part of an army of guys frantically doing their gift- buying on Christmas Eve.

“It’s the same every year as they leave it to the last minute.”

High street stores including Oasis and Next have slashed the cost of some products by up to 70 per cent in an attempt to attract back shoppers after seeing reduced footfall for November. The likes of River Island and Topshop were among those who halved in-store prices.

Online, Amazon Prime members are still able to order up to 9.45pm for one-hour delivery times today and Argos is also taking same-day online orders until 1pm.

David Jinks, head of consumer research at ParcelHero delivery service, said: “‘Apart from those final few stores where you can pick up pre-ordered items, ultra last-minute Scary Sunday shoppers will have to abandon the High Street and the internet and look to that traditional last bastion of panicking present buyers – the petrol station store.”

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Meanwhile, Christmas has been saved for hundreds of food bank users in Lanarkshire after vandals caused thousands of pounds worth of damage when they broke into Coatbridge Community Food Bank on Wednesday night.

Staff promised to stay open for their customers and mounted a clear-up operation on Thursday and set up a crowd-funding page.

Manager James Dempsey said he was astounded by the public response. He said: “People have been outstanding in their generosity. We have run out of space to store donations.

“We have had to find overflow storage for the food handed in.”

The great Christmas get-away began in earnest yesterday as people began their seasonal trips to see relatives. Cross-border trains were said to be “very busy”. It was also a busy day on the road network as those going away for Christmas were caught up with those on last-minute shopping trips. Transport Scotland reported heavy traffic around shopping centres and trunk roads busier than usual.

Transport Scotland said there was no disruption at Scottish airports. Some ferry journeys in the islands had to be cancelled as a result of the wind. High winds saw intermittent restrictions on the Tay and Kessock Bridges and also caused the last-minute cancellation of the illuminated trail at Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden.

Paul Arbuckle of the Met Office in Aberdeen said rain was expected for Christmas Eve with a band of wet weather moving over Glasgow, Argyll and the West Highlands today. Southern parts of Scotland will continue to be mild and dry but rain is likely to return as the day goes on. Aberdeenshire and Moray will see bright patches.

But other than the Cairngorm ski-slopes, where a snow machine has been in action, there was little hope of a white Christmas. The Met Office said most of Scotland would wake up to a cloudy Christmas day with occasional outbreaks of rain.