Storm no barrier to Boxing Day shoppers

Boxing Day sales on Princes Street. Picture: Jon Savage
Boxing Day sales on Princes Street. Picture: Jon Savage
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The tail end of Storm Conor failed to deter bargain hunters on Boxing Day as customers queued from the early hours.

Bumper numbers flocked to retail parks and shopping centres across the Capital – with reports from Fort Kinnaird that queues for the Next sale started as early as 2am.

More than 60,000 shoppers kept the retail park busy throughout the day, similar figures to December 26 last year.

Liam Smith, centre manager at Fort Kinnaird, said: “It was crazy in the morning. By 4am there was more than 300 people queuing from the front door of Next all the way down to Boots.

“Getting out of the house on Boxing Day, after all the food, drink and merriment of Christmas Day, has become increasingly popular.”

On the other side of town, customers keen on scooping up sale items at the Gyle described the experience as “total chaos”.

“It was heaving from 7am,” one shopper explained. “There were queues starting as early as 5.30am and winding all the way past WH Smith waiting to get into the Next sale.”

The hotly anticipated Next sale also drew shoppers to Princes Street, with 130 eager customers queuing outside for the 6am opening.

“We have had more in previous years,” said assistant store manager Gillian Russell.

“But what we find is customers go to the retail parks in the morning, particularly when the weather is as poor as it was this morning, and then into town in the afternoon.

“By lunchtime it was bonkers. The weather meant customers were racing for the knitwear and bargains on the big winter coats.”

It wasn’t just queues inside the shops but outside, as traffic wardens battled the freezing temperatures and determined shoppers to keep waiting times at the Gyle and Fort Kinnaird car parks to a minimum.

And tills weren’t just ringing in out-of-town centres, as major city centre department and flagship stores saw a torrent of shoppers vying for a bargain.

A spokesperson for Harvey Nichols said approximately 7000 people had crossed the threshold in just five hours. Staff described the pandemonium as the shop opened as “nuts”, with queues snaking from both entrances up St Andrew Square on one side and around Multrees Walk on the other.

And those desperate for a high-end deal continued to stream through the doors throughout the day despite the exclusive store launching a pre-Christmas sale on December 23.

“Although extremely busy, the shopping experience is extremely pleasant,” a shopper said. “I was in on Thursday when sale launched and it was complete mayhem.”

And Zara – one of the few high-street shops which stick to the traditional Boxing day sale launch – was rammed with customers waiting longer than 20 minutes to be served.

“A spokesperson said: “Shoppers don’t mind waiting on Boxing day. They know it’s going to be chaotic and completely crazy and are happy to dig through the stock to get a great bargain and then wait in line to pay for it.”