RETAILERS across the region were today bracing themselves for a multi-million-pound Boxing Day sales blowout.
The Scottish Retail Consortium expects stores across Edinburgh and the Lothians to go for broke to make up for a disappointing 2012 overall.
Many major retailers, including Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Currys/PC World launched online sales on Christmas Eve. Internet giant Amazon started its sale on Christmas Day.
But for those who prefer to see their goods up close, today is expected to see some of the biggest bargains and sales transactions taking place – with Edinburgh city centre, The Gyle, and out of town locations such as Livingston’s McArthurGlen mobbed.
Among those queuing to get into Next in Princes Street this morning was Jabbar Hassan, 25, a shop worker from Craigmillar.
He said: “I spent £440 on various things – shirts, shoes, watches, a two-piece suit and black suit. I am also about to go back to Pakistan to visit family so I wanted to buy gifts for them as well. I was also in with my mate who spent about £500. There was a huge queue all the way to Castle Street.”
Nicola Jengaenga, 29, an employment adviser from Meadowbank who was also in the queue to get into Next, said: “It was like being part of a swarm of locusts. I recently got married and all my money went on that. I decided I would hold off on Christmas spending and that Santa would come the day after.”
Claire Swan, store manager at Next, said: “The store is certainly busy and I’m happy with footfall. It’s what we would have expected in terms of queuing – possibly more.”
Harvey Nichols in St Andrew Square had security measures in place after 600 shoppers last year stampeded through a side door in 30 seconds.
A spokesman for the store said: “A lot of handbags have been marked down by up to 50 per cent, and that’s where you see the swarms heading first, before the shoes. It’s absolute bedlam. Last year we sold out of all Gucci and Prada sale items within ten minutes.”
Hazel Tierney, sales operations manager at John Lewis Edinburgh, said: “Our online sale started at 5pm on Christmas Eve, with deliveries due to arrive tomorrow, when the sale starts in the shop itself.”
And it’s not just the big chains getting in on the action, with independent designer clothing boutique Jane Davidson also opening its doors to the hordes today.
A spokeswoman for the Thistle Street store said: “We’ve got some amazing pieces, including clothes from Victoria Beckham’s line.”
Richard Dodd, of the Scottish Retail Consortium, expects it to be a bumper Boxing Day. “I think we’ll see a bigger proportion of stores launching shop-based sales on Boxing Day.”
‘I must’ve saved at least £30’
Some bargain hunters tell us about their finds . .
Craig Houliston, 26, from Prestonpans: “I’ve been in taking advantage of the House of Fraser sale. I got a Jack Jones jumper reduced from £45 to £31.”
Ross Cunningham, 18, East Calder: “I’ve been all over and got loads of bargains on things like chocolate, nice shaving foam and designer toiletries. Not sure how much I’ve saved in total but it must be at least £30.”
Rebecca Hunter, 18, Moredun: “I got a pair of Adidas trainers in House of Fraser for my boyfriend reduced to £47 from £67. I also got 20 per cent off Paul Smith perfume.”
Leonie Jamieson, 20, Galashiels: “I got a dress from Miss Selfridge which was marked down to £17 from £28. I’m very happy with it.”
Ryan Brake, 15, Penicuik: “There hasn’t been a huge amount that’s caught my eye. I did get two jumpers from Burton for £45, when it should have cost £68.”
BEST BETS TO BAG A BARGAIN
• Mary Portas blue drape dress; was £135, now £67.50 – saving 50 per cent; House of Fraser
• The Deep V Victoria Beckham Dress; was £1055, now £525 – saving 50 per cent; Harvey Nichols
• Blackberry Playbook; was £249, now £124; saving 50 per cent; Currys/PC World
• Criminal grey chinos; was £55, now £27.50 – saving 50 per cent; House of Fraser
• Fifa 13; was £44.99, now £35 – saving 22 per cent; Game
• Limited collection Swan Lake dress; was £45, now £18 – saving 60 per cent; M&S
• John Rocha prom dress; was £80, now £40 – saving 50 per cent; Debenhams
• Samsung EH6000 60” LED TV; was £1599, now £999 – saving 37 per cent; Currys/PC World
• Gucci Sukey medium Tote bag; was £560, now £392 – saving 30 per cent; Harvey Nichols
• Hermes Voyage d’Hermes fragrance; was £55.50, now £36.50 – saving 34 per cent; House of Fraser
• Hotpoint washing machine; was £449.99, now £249 – saving 45 per cent; Currys/PC World