Committed shoppers were on the go early for the annual Boxing Day sales yesterday, with shops offering huge discounts after the festive rush.
Across the UK it is estimated £2.6billion was spent on Boxing Day, but despite the growth of online shopping many people still favoured the traditional queues, choosing to wander and bag their bargains instore.
Experts’ predictions that many people would research their bargains online, and buy some items in the Christmas day Internet sales, were backed up by some of those shopping at Rushmere in Craigavon yesterday.
Grace Derry bought clothing on Christmas Day but decided to travel to the shops before 7am on Boxing Day to get the computer she wanted.
“There wasn’t that much online but when I went into the store I thought the bargains were better,” said Grace who was at the shops with her mum Rose.
“I do shop online but I wouldn’t have shopped for the laptop online because I think that’s something you need to see. When you go in person you get a lot of offers that you mightn’t have got online.”
Next, which sits in Rushmere’s retail park, opened at 6am to a queue of 600 eager shoppers.
At the top of the line was a lady sitting in a deck chair with a hot water bottle who had been there since 2.45am, according to store manager Michaela McCormack.
“We have customers who might look online and buy there as well but they like to come into the store and check out what offers we have here,” said Ms McCormack.
“We have a lot of loyal customers who expect to queue to get in and then at the till but I have to say this year has been one of the busiest I can remember. Our queue at the door is normally cleared by early morning but it was still going at 10am.”
Victoria Square in Belfast reported its busiest day on record on Monday and more bumper crowds yesterday.
Centre manager Michelle Jackson described the number of shoppers as “absolutely phenomenal”.
Speaking yesterday, she said: “We have had queues from early on this morning, and brands whose sales started today have been extremely busy. The town is really, really strong, really buzzing, and lots of queues and lots of shopping bags.”
Ms Jackson said the rise in internet trading did not seem to be affecting local sales, and added: “Maybe it’s a sign of a change. It’s been challenging for quite some time but maybe there are some green shoots.
“It’s been a very good month for us. The sales will keep going until the end of January.”