Bargain hunters began queuing on Christmas Day in Leeds hoping to be among the first through the doors in the Boxing Day sales as retailers said initial figures showed shoppers had been out in force over the festive period.
Managers at the White Rose Centre in Leeds, Trinity Leeds and Sheffield’s Meadowhall said they had been overwhelmed, with hundreds of thousands of shoppers looking for cut-price goods.
Boxing Day shoppers were out in force at White Rose Shopping Centre with centre manager Dean Stratton, saying: “We had customers queuing from 10.30pm on Christmas Day for the start of the Next sale and also queues outside Debenhams, Boots, River Island, Zara, JD Sports and Currys Digital.
“Before 6am we had more than 3,000 people in the centre and we are expecting tens of thousands more before we close at 8pm.”
On December 23 the White Rose set a five year high for footfall when 72,000 people visited the centre.
Trinity Leeds, which opened in March, held its first Boxing Day sales with bargain hunters forming queues from the early hours looking for a bargain.
This followed a busy Christmas week, with footfall of more than 100,000 on December 23 and 70,000 on Christmas Eve – all of which have given a healthy boost to city centre visitor numbers in Leeds, which were up 3.8 per cent on the same week last year.
Kevin Duffy, the centre director at Trinity Leeds, said: “We are anticipating another very busy day and expect visitor numbers to exceed 100,000 once again.”
He added: “As well as coming to shop, many are enjoying something to eat or drink in the bars, restaurants and cafes.”
In the run up to Christmas, 131,000 meals were served in the centre, and 203,000 drinks consumed – of which 38,000 were cups of tea or coffee.
Boxing Day bargain hunters queued from as early as 2am ahead of stores opening their doors from 6am at Meadowhall.
Next, Marks & Spencer, River Island and Topshop were among some of the centre’s retailers which opened for business and trading ahead of the start of the sales.
Online sales started on Christmas Eve and millions are believed to have already snapped up goods from the comfort of their own homes.
Some 117 million visits to retail websites were estimated to have been made on Christmas Day in the UK.
Experian, an information services company, said that between December 24 and 26, some 45 million hours would be spent by customers shopping online.