Business

Boxing Day sales: Shoppers flock to stores

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Media captionRebecca Stanley, shopper: "It's like an adrenaline rush, I just get a buzz".

Shoppers across the UK have been descending on their High Streets for the annual Boxing Day sales.

Some had queued from the early hours in the hope of securing bargains.

Among those offering reductions were familiar names like Harrods, Selfridges, Liberty, House of Fraser, Next and Marks & Spencer.

Despite Black Friday's emergence as a major UK shopping day, Myf Ryan of Westfield shopping centres said Boxing Day remained a "huge attraction".

Westfield operates two large shopping centres in west and east London.

"This year we expect an exceptionally busy day yet again, fuelled by excellent retail offers and special deals with over 50% off by many of our 600 retailers," she said.

Online challenge

The Next fashion chain opened at 06:00 GMT, and at one of its stores on Oxford Street in London's West End, 600 people were queuing to get in.

In Birmingham, some shoppers had been queuing since 02:30 outside the Bullring branch of Selfridges, with store deputy manager Sam Watts estimating some 2,000 were in the queue by opening time.

Crowds of up to 150,000 descended on Sheffield's Meadowhall Centre, with director Darren Pearce describing it as "possibly our busiest Boxing Day to date".

According to data firm Experian and online retailing trade association IMRG, internet shoppers are expected to spend £748m on Boxing Day, or £519,000 a minute.

They also predict some 167 million visits to online retail sites, up 29% on 2013, during the day.

"This year has seen record breaking online shopping rates, particularly on Black Friday, which saw an astronomical £810m in estimated spend due to the massive resources put behind promotions by a wide range of retailers," said Experian's Giles Longhurst.

"Traditionally, the Boxing Day sales have been the busiest day for retailers in the UK, but this year we expect them to come second to Black Friday."

Disputes

Tesco Direct said it expected sales of more than 5,000 televisions and more than 2,000 games consoles during the day.

Supermarket chain Asda said it was predicting more than two million shoppers through its doors.

The shopping frenzy could mean a heavy workload for the new retail ombudsman, Dean Dunham, when he turns up for his new role on 2 January.

Mr Dunham said he expected his first task to be dealing with disputes caused by Christmas shopping and new year sales bargain hunters.

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