Shopping centres throughout the UK are bracing themselves for an even bigger rush today as the post-Christmas sales get into full swing.
With the run-up to Christmas generally perceived as slow, many chains opened yesterday hoping to attract shoppers amid signs of economic slowdown fuelled by the Northern Rock crisis and the global credit crunch.
Despite growing fears in the City about the economy, the concerns are yet to filter down to consumers, with more than half saying they remain confident about their personal finances, an ICM poll revealed today. It showed 55% of respondents were confident about their finances.
For big spenders heading for the high street today, Which? offers free advice online about shopping rights when buying in sales.
Half a million shoppers are estimated to have braved London’s West End yesterday, while department store Selfridges said it had experienced its best start to a sale.
Shopping centres across the country also showed signs of a bumper turnout.
At Lakeside in Essex, cars flooded through the barriers in their hundreds from around 7am and its branch of House of Fraser reported takings of £1,000 a minute.
A spokesman for the White Rose Shopping Centre, in Leeds, West Yorkshire, said the centre had seen the best start to the Boxing Day sales.
And at Meadowhall, in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, people queued for at least an hour before the shops opened, with some stores opening earlier to alleviate the queues.
Retail experts are predicting that today will be even busier, with Manchester’s Trafford Centre, which attracted 10,000 visitors by 9am on Boxing Day, expecting a further 750,000 before the end of the week.
Among the traders opening their doors to post-Christmas shoppers today is John Lewis, which yesterday said it had seen its ‘best Christmas ever’.
…best Christmas ever
The partnership reported sales of more than £100 million for the second week in a row in the seven days to December 22, which should bring sales to around £400 million for the month.
All 26 John Lewis stores except Trafford were closed yesterday but the retailer will kick off clearance sales today with the prices of most items slashed by half.