BOXING DAY SALES: Thousands of UK shoppers queue up from midnight

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.

SOURCES:

Sherrie Bachell/Facebook.

“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

IMAGE CREDIT:

“London December 24 2016 (17) Sale Starts Boxing Day” – DAVID HOLT, Flickr (24 December 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/zongo/31846107145

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SNACKS WITH ADDED HOP: UK supermarket to start selling insect nibbles

London – VIJAY SHAH via Sky News

If you are tired of the same old potato crisps, peanuts and trail mix for your snacking needs, and want to try something radically different, a supermarket in the UK has begun selling an ‘edible insects’ range, where you can now chow on crickets or graze on a grasshopper.

Sainsbury’s, a mid-market retail chain headquartered in London, will be selling various crunchy dried insects as snacks across 250 of its UK stores, retailing in small packs for £1.50 eachSky News reported yesterday. The range, titled ‘Eat Grub’ – a play on the traditional Cockney dialect term for food, ‘grub’ – is made by an external supplier of roast insects of the same name who have approached the supermarket chain to promote their products.

 

A highlight of the Eat Grub range includes BBQ-smoked crickets which taste-testers have described as being “crunchy in texture with a rich smoky flavour”. Sainsbury’s is not the first to sell the range of creepy-crawly nibbles though. Online upmarket supermarket Ocado, a division of Britain’s Waitrose and Partners retail firm, has been stocking Eat Grub for five months previously, to mixed perceptions among its shoppers. 

One online reviewer wrote on Ocado’s site in reference to the BBQ crickets: “My hubby [husband]… said they didn’t taste at all of BBQ… [all] he could taste was fish sauce? Way too expensive as well.”

Another reviewer however was more upbeat about the snacks. They wrote: “Tried the final flavour in this selection from Eat Grub and LOVED this – much tastier than a bag of crisps without the calories. Couldnt (sic) stop eating them!”

Sainsbury’s advised consumers brave enough to try the edible insects and grubs to eat them straight out of the packet as a quick snack or use them in cooking as a garnish for tacos, noodles and salads.

Insects and arachnids are common as a cheap and protein-rich food source for non-vegetarians/vegans in many parts of the world. In Malawi, people armed with giant nets catch and eat mosquitoes, crickets are roasted as a snack in Thailand, fried scorpions are big business in China, and Cambodians will go to great lengths to lure a species of endemic burrowing tarantula out of their holes to fry them and even sell them to passing tourists.

In the UK and much of the Western world, the idea of eating insects and other arthropods is often met with revulsion, even though crustaceans and molluscs are widely consumed there. However with intensive farming practices of larger livestock such as cows and sheep being increasingly harmful for the environment and animal welfare, experts have encouraged consumers and retailers to look at more sustainable sources of nutrition, with insects being high on that list of new food outlets.

According to the Eat Grub company, founded in 2014 by Shami Radia and Neil Whippey to introduce more people in the West to insect foods, dried crickets contain more protein per gram than beef, chicken or pork – with 68g of protein per 100g, compared to 31g of protein in beef.

Radia said: “Currently, insects are eaten and enjoyed by two billion people worldwide.

“We’re on a mission to show the West that as well as having very strong sustainability and environmental credentials, they are also seriously tasty and shouldn’t be overlooked as a great snack or recipe ingredient.”

According to a survey conducted by Sainsbury’s and Eat Grub, ten per cent of the British public have eaten insect snacks and around half have rated them as delicious.

SOURCES:

Shere Singh/Facebook.

“Sainsbury’s launches £1.50 edible insect range in UK supermarket first” – Sky News/Sky UK (17 November 2018) https://news.sky.com/story/sainsburys-launches-150-edible-insect-range-in-uk-supermarket-first-11556476?fbclid=IwAR19mzj7-VT83_Eqpp15OeWEbLRMJn9hR3aI7K7bF5HTKClNkQBU33puE5U

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Fried Crickets – Chiang Mai Night Bazaar” – Alpha, Flickr (12 March 2009) https://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/3429005598

HANDGUNS SOLD IN WEST HAM: Persistent gun merchant criminal jailed

London – VIJAY SHAH via LORRAINE KING and Newham Recorder

A West Ham, east London man who was put on licence by judicial authorities after being charged with selling illegal weapons has been sent to jail after he was caught violating his licence terms… by selling weapons.

Lennie St Clare Walters had previously being jailed for ten years for supplying weapons and ammunition, but served half of the sentence before being released on licence, but will now lose his freedom and be recalled to prison after he was caught selling to an associate, local news outlet the Newham Recorder reported this week.

 

The 47-year-old gun dealer is said to have sold two handguns and a total of 73 rounds of ammunition to two separate customers in 2017, it was reported. One customer lived near St Clare Walters, whilst the other customer arranged a stopover to collect the weapon in Leyton, using a taxi cab to help meet up for the purchase.

At his recall trial at London’s Snaresbrook Crown Court, his previous conviction in 2010, where he was jailed for a decade for supplying a MAC-10 machine gun. He was released on parole, but was re-arrested in February 2018, where police found him carrying bullets wrapped in plastic bag material.

St Clare Walters admitted to the court that he had supplied the weapons, but that he had not intended to endanger life. The court, convened this past Friday, however found against him and the gun dealer was returned to prison for seven years, according to the Recorder. St Clare Walters’ two customers were also arrested, pleaded guilty to gun offences and were jailed.

Detective Constable Gareth Starr, from the Trident and Area Crime Command section of London’s Metropolitan Police force, told the paper: “Due to an intelligence-led investigation and working alongside our colleagues from the firearms unit, not just one, but three men, who were in possession of firearms, have now been taken off the streets.”.

Many parts of inner London has long experienced problems with illegal and criminally modified weapons used in criminal activities. This year, the city has suffered a wave of shootings and stabbings, mostly involving people under 30, with 89 murder investigations opened by the police so far.

SOURCES:

Newham Recorder, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/Newham.Recorder/

“Jailed: Convicted Mac-10 gun dealer who supplied firearm and ammunition to associate in West Ham” – Lorraine King, Newham Recorder/Archant Community Media Ltd (9 September 2018) http://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/crime-court/gun-dealer-jailed-for-trade-in-west-ham-1-5687267

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:MAC10.jpg” – Mike Cumpston, English Wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons (13 April 2008) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MAC10.jpg