Millions set for Boxing Day sales

Published: Friday 26th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Shoppers will hit the high street in their millions today as stores reopen for the Boxing Day sales.

The day will begin at dawn for those keen enough to queue for the best deals when the doors open.

But consumers have already had the chance to snap up bargains, with many big-name retailers launching their sales as early as Christmas Eve.

Nevertheless, bricks and mortar retailers are expecting heavy footfall today as shoppers head out on what is forecast to be a bright and sunny day.

Department stores Harrods, Selfridges, Liberty and House of Fraser are offering designer goods at a fraction of their usual price, while both Next and Marks & Spencer have launched discounts of up to 50% on sale items.

Westfield director Myf Ryan said Boxing Day remained a “huge attraction” for shoppers.

He said: “Last year we had queues out of the door on Boxing Day by 5am, retailers like Next and Zara experienced record sales and 360,000 shoppers visited our two centres on the day.

“This year we expect an exceptionally busy day yet again, fuelled by excellent retail offers and special deals with over 50% off by many of our 600 retailers.”

Online shoppers are expected to spend £748 million today, or £519,000 a minute, and make 167 million visits to retail sites – up 29% on last year, according to data firm Experian and online retailing trade association IMRG.

Experian general manager of consumer insight, Giles Longhurst, said: “This year has seen record breaking online shopping rates, particularly on Black Friday, which saw an astronomical £810 million in estimated spend due to the massive resources put behind promotions by a wide range of retailers.

“Traditionally, the Boxing Day sales have been the busiest day for retailers in the UK, but this year we expect them to come second to Black Friday.”

An estimated 142 million visits were made to retail websites yesterday, a 25% increase on last year.

Tesco Direct said it expected online shopping to peak at 11am today, with predicted sales of more than 5,000 televisions and more than 2,000 games consoles, and Asda is predicting more than two million shoppers through its doors.

A survey for the price comparison website found that more than a third of Britons (34%) have bought Christmas presents for people during the post-Christmas sales.

More than one in seven of those who bought presents in the sales (16%) did so because they were not visiting family until December 27 or later.

The new retail ombudsman, Dean Dunham, who takes up his new role on January 2, said he expects his first task to be sorting out disputes caused by frantic Christmas shopping and New Year sales bargain hunters.

He said the most common complaint would be from thousands of consumers refused refunds or replacements because the packaging has been opened.

He said: “If the goods are not faulty, the law places no obligations on the retailer so you have to examine their terms and conditions.

“If their terms say the retailer will not accept returns where packaging is damaged or missing, and most terms do, the retailer will be perfectly within their rights to enforce this.”

Published: Friday 26th December 2014 by The News Editor

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