THOUSANDS of bargain-mad shoppers descended on city centre shops from as early as 5am yesterday to snap up cut-price goods as the Capital’s winter sales got off to a flying start.
Stores were thronged with determined shoppers from the early hours – as retail experts predicted Scotland-wide takings would burst through the £300 million level recorded last year.
As the day wore on, so did the competition for goods, with Edinburgh shopper Rachel Watson tweeting: “Some people are proper aggressive. I’m quite scared.”
And the high street sales crush will intensify today, as shoppers in the Capital contribute to a record-breaking national spree worth £253m.
Edinburgh store managers said there were clear signs of a spending surge in city centre shops on Boxing Day.
Chris Gray, deputy manager at Schuh in Frederick Street, said Boxing Day custom at his store was well up on the same period in 2012, adding: “We’ve been very busy – since 9am, it’s been non-stop.
“Busy periods normally come in waves for us but today it’s been consistent. Figures-wise, we’re doing a lot better than last year. It’s definitely positive.”
Early indications yesterday pointed to a stand-out performance by luxury and designer stores in Multrees Walk, as thousands of shoppers flocked to the avenue looking to scoop discounts worth up to 70 per cent.
A spokesman for the department store chain’s St Andrew Square branch confirmed the winter sales had started exceptionally well, with takings heading for a five-year high.
He said: “Customers have been in a less fraught mood this year but it’s been continuously busy and we’ve been run off our feet. So far, we’re doing better than we were doing at this point last year, which is fantastic. And year-on-year, we’re seeing an increase.
“Gucci is doing really well in ladieswear, menswear and across accessories. The ladies’ shoe department has been so busy you wouldn’t believe.”
And earlier in the day, Emma Ness, manager at Next in Princes Street, said the situation in her store was “bonkers”.
The confident mood was picked up by shoppers lugging multiple bags from store to store in the city centre.
Euan Jenkins, 19, a sports science student at Edinburgh College, said he was on the look-out for jackets, trousers and other day-to-day clothes.
He said: “It seems there are a lot of people out. There are lots of people with bags and they are spending their money.
“It’s definitely a bit busier than last year.”
Mary Sharpe, 63, retired and from Newington, who was also on the hunt for a bargain, said: “I would say it’s busier this year and people are feeling a bit more confident.”
But Mairi Donaldson, 51, a teacher from South Queensferry who was out shopping with her family, said parts of the city centre felt a little quieter than she was expecting.
“My feeling is that people do seem to be buying but maybe it’s tourists rather than local people,” she said.