Newcastle – VIJAY SHAH via ED RILEY and Mail Online/Daily Mail
Today sees the launch of special Boxing Day sales promotions on high streets and shopping centres across the United Kingdom, with thousands of keen bargain hunters said to be queuing up outside shops from midnight in some places, reports the newspaper Daily Mail.
Ahead of an expected bumper day of GBP 4.75 billion flowing through the tills of Britain’s retailers, reports came in from Newcastle and Birmingham of massive queues in the dead of night, when most people would be sleeping off their Christmas roast dinners. In the northern city of Newcastle, shoppers were seen sitting on the pavement, huddled in blankets and decked in warm clothing.
In Newcastle, around 2,500 shoppers formed a queue at the Silverlink Retail Park, eagerly awaiting the opening of the Next superstore, which sells clothes, at 6 A.M. Next issued 1,300 tickets per shopper, as many as the store could legally contain, yet a 1,000 more will still waiting outside in the bitter north English cold. The store is reducing some of its lines by a hefty fifty per cent especially for the 26th of December.
One shopper told the Mail: “We ordered pizza at 3am to warm ourselves up.
‘Some people might think it’s extreme to wait for five hours for a shop to open, but we don’t want all the best deals to be gone by the time we get inside.
‘I am sure it will be worth it!’
Large early morning queues were also reported in Manchester’s Trafford centre. Across the country, many shoppers took their queue positions from as early as 12 or 1 AM, it was reported. Queues stretched around the block, with hundreds of participants.
Out of the projected £4.75 billion spend today, 3.71 billion is expected to come from purchases at physical stores, with the remaining £1.04 billion coming from online sales, according to research published by the Centre for Retail Research in tandem with Vouchercodes, a UK shopping discount website. Research from credit card company Barclaycard supported the Centre’s own findings, stating that that four in ten UK adults plan to shop in the sales over the Boxing Day period, anticipating an average spend of £188 each. Boxing Day is the most popular day to shop during the Christmas sales period, according to Barclaycard, with three in ten Britons planning to hit the sales on December 26 specifically.
Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research, said: “Boxing Day was the biggest spending day ever last year, and will be bigger again this year.
‘Spending of £3.7billion in stores and a billion online will be so high because shops and customers keep saying that almost all shoppers will focus on day one of the sales, to get the best deals.
‘Research also shows many shoppers will spend all their money in one go, unlike a few years ago when people would go to the sales several times over a week or two.
‘Now it’s a Black Friday-style rush on the first day.”
The operations director for major shopping centre owner intu, Gordon McKinnon, added: “The Boxing Day bonanza will see many shoppers brave early morning winter weather to have first pick of the bargains.”
Konrad Kelling, managing director of customer solutions at Barclaycard, said: “Whilst most plan to spend Boxing Day with friends and family, Brits also don’t want to miss out on the best deals to be had.
‘Surprisingly, men plan to spend more than women in the sales this year – whether that be staying up late to buy that must-have item or even browsing online during the family festivities.”
Kelling also acknowledged that not all shoppers were prepared to go to the extreme length of waiting in the hours of the early morning in freezing conditions, adding: “Boxing Day remains the most popular day to shop for bargains over the Christmas period. However, this year the majority of consumers plan to shop online from the comfort and convenience of their own home rather than braving the winter weather and crowds on the high street.”
The British high street industry has suffered numerous setbacks over the past year, with significant store closures and collapses of some famous high street names, as more people opt to shop online. Though the record-breaking Boxing Day sales of 2018 could temporarily halt this decline, many store managers and CEOs are still feeling uneasy about the future of the big chain store in the face of online competitors.
“The biggest Boxing Day sales ever! Thousands of bargain hunters queue from MIDNIGHT at shopping centres across Britain as they try to beat the rush ahead of £4.75BILLION festive spending spree” – Ed Riley, Mail Online News/Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group/Associated Newspapers Ltd (26 December 2018) https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6529703/Thousands-bargain-hunters-queue-MIDNIGHT-ahead-Boxing-Day-sales.html?ito=social-facebook
“London December 24 2016 (17) Sale Starts Boxing Day” – DAVID HOLT, Flickr (24 December 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/zongo/31846107145