The Next sale FINALLY begins! Thousands of shoppers queue from 4am

The Next sale FINALLY begins! Thousands of keen shoppers queue from 4am outside shops after High street stalwarts Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Next remained closed yesterday – with footfall plunging by 67% as Covid sent shoppers online

  • The Next sale attracted thousands of shoppers for 6am opening after it was shut yesterday for staff
  • Some queues snaked along for 500 metres as customers were keen to get the stores first thing  
  • Thousands of Britons queues in the cold yesterday to grab their Boxing Day bargains after Christmas Day
  • London footfall down 67 per cent on 2019 levels with similar drops in other cities after the pandemic
  • Shoppers in the UK will spend an average of £247 each in the end-of-year sales on cheaper priced bargains

Shoppers keen to get their hands on some bargains queued from 4.30am this morning as the traditional Boxing Day sales were switched to today.

Customers could be seen lining up for at least 500 metres at the Brotherhood Retail Park in Peterborough to get into clothes store Next, with a similar story at the company’s Liverpool outlet.

In Cardiff shoppers were doing the same at its branch, whose stores were all opening at 6am today to make the most of the post-Christmas rush.

Customers were offered surgical face masks by staff keen to make sure people were safe while they were lining up to get inside. 

Next, like many others, were closed yesterday on Sunday as a thank-you to staff who had toiled so hard during the Covid pandemic.

That and a lack of confidence among the public following the spread of the Omicron coronavirus strain meant footfall was lower on Boxing Day.

People at shopping sites across the UK on Boxing Day up to noon yesterday was 45 per cent below the 2019 level, according to data from retail expert Springboard.

In central London, footfall was 67 per cent lower than 2019 numbers, while it was 58 per cent below 2019 in other major UK cities.

Market towns fared slightly better, seeing a 12 per cent decrease from 2019 shopping traffic, while there was only a seven per cent drop in outer London.

Shoppers queued for over 500 metres, socially distanced, ready for the Next sale at the Brotherhood Retail Park in Peterborough.

All of the Next stores in the country were closed yesterday, but opened this morning at 6am to attract more shoppers

Bargain hunters queue up in a huge long line around the Silverlink Retail Park in North Tyneside for the opening of the 6am Next store

The appalling weather conditions did not deter shoppers today who made sure they were up bright and early for opening time

Shoppers queue outside Next store as they hunt for bargains during the Boxing Day sales in central Liverpool this morning

Shoppers queue from the early hours of the morning on Queen Street for the Next Christmas sale on December 27, 2021 in Cardiff, Wales

There were some busy areas, as hundreds of shoppers crammed into a Selfridges store in London.

Customers armed with umbrellas and wearing their winter jackets streamed through the fashion chain’s store on Oxford Street as the branch opened its doors to shoppers at 11am.

Meanwhile others were spotted gathering outside a JD Sports store at Birmingham’s Bull Ring as the clothes chain also launched its Boxing Day sales. 

New coronavirus restrictions came into force yesterday in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which may have had an impact on the number of shoppers hitting the sales.

Footfall in Northern Ireland was 73 per cent below the 2019 level, 63 per cent lower in Wales, and almost 50 per cent lower in Scotland.

Restrictions of pushed buyers online, where shoppers plan to spend more in this year’s post-Christmas sales than they have in the last two years.

Shoppers are expected to spend an average of £247 each in the end-of-year sales – an increase of £85 on 2020 and £61 more than 2019.

Around 30 per cent of bargain hunters have admitted they started browsing the sales on Christmas Eve, while 27 per cent will have spent some time shopping on Christmas Day, according to the latest research.. 

Shoppers could be seen queueing around the Next building Silverlink Retail Park in North Tyneside for the opening at 6am

Shoppers could be seen as far as the eye could see waiting for Next to open at 6am in North Tyneside this morning

Hundreds of shoppers crammed into a Selfridges store in London today for the Boxing Day sale on Sunday morning

Despite the scenes on Oxford Street today, Boxing Day footfall plummeted by 67 per cent on 2019, according to data from retail expert Springboard

Lines begin to form inside  the Trafford Centre in Manchester as the Boxing Day sales began yesterday on Sunday

Despite the drop in footfall, large queues formed outside the Trafford Centre in Manchester yesterday with shoppers waiting since 8am, while bargain hunters also lined up outside Primark in Birmingham and Zara in Bristol.

There were also queues outside Selfridges, Boots, Primark, Disney and Zara on Oxford Street in London

Queueing outside the Disney store in Oxford Street, London to shop on her daughter’s behalf, Nic Portway from London told the PA news agency she was not planning on spending much in the sales but was happy to still go to the shops in person despite the rise in Covid cases.

She said: ‘I am not really surprised by how many people are out because we have got to get on with it, there is always going to be another variant so what do we do?

‘We can’t keep locking down every time there is a new variant otherwise everything will just stop.’

Another shopper said she only came out on Boxing Day because her planned Christmas Day online shopping at Zara fell through due to an error on the app.

The woman said: ‘I was surprised to see this many people out and about, when I walked down Oxford Circus there was hardly anyone around, but then when I arrived at Oxford Street there were big queues, all around the corners.’

Masks were worn by most shoppers on Oxford Street, whether in a queue or walking around but many of the shops were not full of people. 

Hundreds of shoppers stream through the doors at Selfridges in London yesterday morning for the Boxing Day sales

Shoppers stream through the entrance as doors open for the start of the Boxing Day sales at Selfridges department store on Oxford Street in London on Sunday

People queue up outside Selfridges  on Oxford Street in London for the Boxing Day sales on Sunday morning yesterday

Elsewhere stores including Primark, JD Sports, New Look, Zara, Selfridges, and H&M opened their doors to shoppers looking to land a festive bargain yesterday morning. 

Amazon, Boots and Asos have all launched their Boxing Day sales early on their websites, with the prices of sought-after items, such as Apple AirPods, slashed.

In Manchester, a crowd of excited shoppers waited by the doors of Primark, on Market Street, ahead of its opening time at 10.30am on Sunday. 

One local told the Manchester Evening News: ‘They’ve all gone into Primark – it opened up and they all piled in. There’s a queue at Selfridges as well.

‘It was quiet earlier this morning – a few people were milling around – but it’s busier now.’

The latest research, which was commissioned by Barclaycard Payments, showed that 31 per cent of shoppers will buy clothes, shoes and accessories while 25 per cent of shopper have food and drink at the top of their sales lists this year.

And savvy savers say discounted Christmas-related items, such as decorations, are close behind, with 24 per cent of shoppers looking to make savings now by preparing for Christmas 2022.

The research also found Brits will also be sales shopping with families and friends in mind, with 24 per cent planning to buy gifts for their nearest and dearest.

A fifth are shopping for deals on experiences they can share such as concert tickets, and the same number are hoping to book a discounted holiday to make up for missed trips over the past year.

Similarly, 29 per cent said they would be shopping for next Christmas and 22 per cent would be looking for Mother’s Day gifts.

People queue for the Selfridges sale on London’s Oxford Street  as the store opened at 11am to welcome shoppers yesterday

Shoppers make their way into a Selfridges in London’s Oxford Street on Boxing Day yesterday morning for the sales

However 47 per cent of those polled believe inflation may affect how much they buy overall, with 49 per cent of these shoppers intending to spend less than they usually would. 

Harshna Cayley, Head of Online Payments, Barclaycard Payments, said: ‘The rise in spending when compared to the last two years is a reassuring sign for retailers.

‘It shows that, despite inflation increasing and worries about the new Covid-19 variant, consumers are keen to continue the tradition of sales shopping; even when some of the larger retailers are closing their physical stores on Boxing Day itself.

‘Yet, we are also becoming more conscious about the purchases we make.

‘With environmental concerns and the cost of everyday living front of mind, many Brits are seeking sustainable goods and services but also, financially planning for the year ahead by taking advantage of deals to buy items for celebrations in the New Year.’ 

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