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Retailers report a Boxing Day boom

DESPITE many families predicting financial gloom going into next year, retailers have reported good initial results from Boxing Day sales.

A total of 13.3 million consumers across the UK were estimated to have braved the bad weather to snap up bargains, according to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR), with tens of thousands of people in Glasgow and Edinburgh alone taking to the high street.

Some retailers slashed their prices prior to Christmas. Many others, however, waited until Thursday to introduce their sales, creating mayhem in many city centres.

Bargain-hunters queued from 3am in some areas just to buy goods at knocked-down prices, with many branches of Next and Debenhams opening at 6am.

Aberdeen's Union Square shopping centre had an 8% increase in footfall compared to last year.

Ryan Manson, general manager at Union Square, said: "It was a really busy Boxing Day in the centre with some shoppers queuing from just after 5am to snap up some of the fantastic deals on offer at Next.

"Traditionally, clothes and footwear are popular items. However, Aberdonians also took advantage of the Boxing Day deals on gadgets, phones, homewares and toys.

"The Christmas period has been very strong and we are looking forward to a successful 2014."

In Glasgow, Silverburn shopping centre also noticed a rise in footfall of 13% from last year, and more than 2000 shoppers queued before the centre opened at 6am.

Manager David Pierotti agreed this year had been "particularly busy", adding: "Customers arrived just before 3am, and Costa opened three hours earlier than planned to serve drinks to waiting customers.

"Zara had the biggest queue since the centre opened six years ago and Debenhams had more than 400 customers waiting for the doors to open at 8am."

Jim Riddell, manager at Cameron Toll shopping centre in Edinburgh, said: "I'm optimistic that next year will be a good one, with consumers spending more, but this year has been excellent for Boxing Day."

The Eastgate shopping centre in Inverness had a busy Boxing Day, although centre manager Jackie Cuddy said December 27 was busier.

She said: "People stayed longer on the 27th, they had more time to browse.

"The other thing that retailers are telling me is that they have noticed that there is a lot of cash rather than credit these days."

Kim Lowe, head of John Lewis in Glasgow, said that even before Boxing Day the store was very busy, with many people leaving their last-minute buying to Christmas Eve.

She said: "Trade has been strong so far. We've had a busy Saturday and a strong start to clearance with people coming into the shop as the Christmas holidays continue."

Throughout the UK, an estimated £2.2 billion was spent in stores, which is 5% more than was spent last year.

Sales for December 27 were expected to be at a similar level.

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