Shops open early for bargain hunters

Retailers in London were hoping to see one of the busiest shopping days of the year with the start of Boxing Day sales.

Thousands of bargain-hungry shoppers flocked to high street chains across the country to get post Christmas discounts.

Next and Debenhams opened their doors at 7am to lure in the crowds, and Selfridges started trading at its Birmingham and Manchester branches at 8am.

Hundreds of people queued outside the London flagship, which opened at 9am.

Stewards worked to keep the crowds under control and there was a separate line for customers hoping to get their hands on Gucci products.

Nat Wanwalee and Naween Mukdasanit, both 25 and from Hammersmith, arrived at the Oxford Street department store at 6am to get a prime spot.

Mr Mukdasanit said: "There were no buses until 8am so we paid for a taxi to come here. I'm not looking for anything in particular. We wanted to get in the Gucci queue but it was too long so we're looking at everything."

Mary Adonis, 32, who lives in Portobello, west London, managed an impressive 2am start.

She said: "I want to look in all the departments, maybe for a bag. I love Gucci."

Nadia Alqabandi, 41, from Westminster, and her 14-year-old daughter Aseel, came prepared with blankets when they arrived outside the store at 6am.