Millions set for Boxing Day sales


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The Independent Online

Millions of shoppers are expected to hit Britain's high streets tomorrow to work off their Christmas dinners while enjoying the Boxing Day sales.

An estimated 5.6 million drivers will take to the roads in search of a Boxing Day bargain, according to Green Flag breakdown.

With sales at stores such as Next opening at 6am, more than one in 10 (13%) of those will set off between 5am and 9am, Green Flag said, although the Boxing Day rush is expected to peak at around 10.30am.

The breakdown firm's research found one in five shoppers (21%) planned to do more Christmas shopping in the sales while one in 20 (6%) had agreed to buy presents after Christmas Day to save money.

Meanwhile, Debenhams, whose Boxing Day sale starts in stores at 7am tomorrow, saw a 75% spike in Christmas Day online traffic compared with last year as people searched for bargains.

A Debenhams spokeswoman said customers were enjoying the opportunity to pick up bargains without leaving home.

Business has been brisk at shopping centres in the run-up to Christmas despite many families tightening their purse strings amid financial uncertainty.

Aberdeen's Union Square shopping centre recorded its busiest Christmas period to date with a 32% annual rise in the number of people through the doors in the week leading up to Christmas Day.

During its third Christmas, the centre saw over 1.1 million shoppers in December.

Ryan Manson, general manager for Union Square, said: "We expect Boxing Day to be another busy day as shoppers hit the high street to take advantage of the post-Christmas sales.

"If the last few weeks have been anything to go by, we expect to see the centre remain busy well into the sales and New Year period."

Peter Beagley, general manager of Braehead Shopping Centre in Glasgow, said the centre would be opening at 6am to accommodate the Next sale and sales starting at 8am including Primark, Marks and Spencer, New Look and JD Sports.

"We're prepared for a very busy Boxing Day and it looks like being an early start for the army of bargain hunters we're expecting through our doors to make the best of the sales," he said."