Boxing Day sales: Millions of bargain-hunters hit shops
26 December 2015
- From the section Business
Millions of shoppers have hit the Boxing Day sales on high streets across the UK, seeking out the best bargains.
The keenest queued from the early hours, with some stores opening their doors from 06:00 GMT.
Retailers including Harrods, Liberty, House of Fraser, Next and Marks & Spencer dropped their prices in store, and offered more discounts online.
Wealthy Chinese tourists were expected to help fuel record takings at London shops, the New West End Company said.
Selfridges reported its best-ever first hour of trade, taking more than £2m between 09:00 GMT and 10:00 GMT.
Online shoppers were expected to spend £856m on Boxing Day – up 22% from last year’s £699m – according to data firm Experian and online retailing trade association IMRG.
In Sheffield, more than 20,000 shoppers descended upon Meadowhall shopping centre, where some queued from 02:00 GMT to get a bargain.
Figures from VoucherCodes.co.uk and the Centre for Retail Research suggested there would be 22 million shoppers, spending as much as £3.74bn in total in the post-Christmas sales – 6% more than last year.
A number of Bond Street stores in central London opened on Boxing Day for the first time as a result of it falling on a Saturday rather than a public holiday.
Fenwick department store in Bond Street opened for its first Boxing Day in its 124-year history.
Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of New West End Company, which represents 600 retailers in Bond Street, Regent Street and Oxford Street, said wealthy foreign tourists were fuelling bumper sales.
He said the West End was a “huge international draw”, particularly for tourists from China, the Middle East and the US.
“They probably spend about four or five times the amount of a UK shopper,” he said.
“We have seen the rise of Chinese in the last couple of years, they are now our third largest [international] shopper – and they will be number one in a couple of years.”
He added that he expected £100m to go through the tills over the next three days.
Steve Richardson, UK regional director at analysts FootFall, said: “With Boxing Day falling on a Saturday, this means for most an extended Christmas break with the extra bank holiday on Monday.”
General secretary of the shop workers’ union Usdaw, John Hannett, urged shoppers to respect store staff “every day, but particularly during the Boxing Day sales when bargain hunting can turn into a frenzy”.
He said: “We would prefer retailers to close for at least two days at Christmas, which would allow shop workers a proper break and time to spend with their family.
“However more and more shops are now opening for special sales promotions on Boxing Day, so we urge retailers to only staff those stores with employees who have volunteered to come in.”
Retail ombudsman Dean Dunham said bargain hunters were better protected because of the new Consumer Rights Act, but he expected the most common complaint to come from consumers refused refunds or replacements because the packaging had been opened.
The Consumer Rights Act gives shoppers 30 days to return a faulty item and receive a full refund.
This post was written by FSB News