HIGH street tills got a welcome Boxing Day boost with shoppers joining early morning queues hundreds deep in the Capital in search of bargains.
Around 600 eager bargain hunters waited outside luxury department store Harvey Nichols ahead of it opening its doors at 10am and at Straiton Retail Park there was severe traffic congestion as shoppers streamed in.
The Princes Street branch of Next – renowned for its annual Boxing Day sales at stores across the UK – reported one of its busiest Boxing Day sales ever, having opened an hour earlier than usual at 6am.
Some stores were offering discounts of up to 70 per cent.
In the months running up to Christmas, sales and spending in Scotland showed signs of trailing behind the UK.
On Christmas Eve, many stores closed their doors early to prepare for the Boxing Day rush and yesterday it appeared to have paid off at many stores.
Gordon Drummond, sales director at Harvey Nichols, said: “We’ve been exceptionally busy, much more so than last year.
“Our handbags seem to be the most popular item, along with shoes and boots.
“There really has been a really great atmosphere in here today. People know our discounts are genuine. We’ll finish the sale in four weeks, that’s if the stock lasts that long.”
Deals on offer included Cash Ca cashmere slippers, reduced from £85 to £42, and an Alexander McQueen dress slashed from £995 to £595.
At Straiton Retail Park, Ruth Henderson, 35, a teacher from Penicuik, said: “I’ve bought things for my kids today and my partner.
“I always come to the sale every year because the bargains are so good.
“My partner and I had gone past the retail park in the car this morning, but we had to come back later on because the traffic was so heavy we couldn’t get into the car park.”
Chris Wallace, 33, a post graduate student from Morningside, said: “We’ve bought kids clothes for the next three years.
“The stores have been pretty gutted. There was a lot less stock than we would have expected at the Next sale for this time of day.”
Kevin Dale, store manager at Next, Princes Street, said: “It’s been bonkers here this morning. The queues this morning were absolutely crazy. They went right from the door round Castle Street – it’s been absolute carnage. The stock in the kids section has virtually been wiped out.
“People are obviously spending a lot at the sales.
“They know they’re going to get a bargain and we’ve added a lot more stock this year so everything is going quickly.
“Customers are emptying the shelves faster than we can fill them up. It’s definitely busier this year than last.”