Bumper bargains bring in shoppers

sales signsRetailers expect more bumper sales as the "busiest week of the year" continues after "record-breaking" Boxing Day trade.

Kent's Bluewater shopping centre said they expected nearly a million visitors this week while upmarket department store Selfridges said it had enjoyed record first-hour sales despite a Tube strike in London on Boxing Day.
Other shopping centres around the country will hope the strong spending levels continue after a day of high takings kicked off the post-Christmas sales.

The Bluewater complex said a number of its retailers had achieved best-ever levels of spend, propelling many to pole position within their chains on a national level. The centre's retail manager, James Waugh, said he expected the boom to continue as luxury items, such as premium-branded handbags and accessories, young fashion ranges, electricals and other big ticket items have been in greatest demand.

Although a fatal stabbing forced the closure of some stores on Oxford Street on Monday afternoon, many retailers in London and other parts of the UK said they had made their best ever start to the traditional post-Christmas rush. And with London Underground due to resume normal service, profits could rise even further.

Selfridges confirmed that it had beaten Boxing Day records set in 2009 - with trade at its stores in London, Manchester and Birmingham up by 15% on the same day two years ago.

Leicester's Highcross centre estimated it had seen around 90,000 visitors, some of whom arrived at 2am to queue.

Meanwhile, London's Brent Cross mall took up to £1,000 a second as shoppers sought to take advantage of discounts of up to 75%. The centre welcomed 10,000 shoppers within an hour of opening, having drafted in 20 extra traffic wardens to ensure car parks could cope with demand.

Several other shopping centres saw customers queuing from the early hours to take advantage of early sales openings at the likes of Next and Hollister. Shoppers arrived at Birmingham's Bullring at 2am, while at Cabot Circus in Bristol shoppers turned up at 5am.

Bargain hunters may have to rise early again to take advantage of the huge discounts available. Despite the effects of the Tube drivers' strike over a pay dispute, traders in London's West End said they had taken £15 million in the first three hours of the sales.

© 2011 Press Association
Read Full Story