Shopping centres up and down the country were flooded with consumers on Boxing Day, retailers have reported.
Westfield reported that it had been an exceptionally busy Boxing Day, with over 340,000 shoppers visiting its two London centres, more than 4,000 arriving before 09.30 GMT.
Commenting that Westfield had enjoyed strong sales during the Christmas period generally, Westfield UK’s General Marketing Manager, Myf Ryan, said: “Boxing Day shaped up to be another successful day with significant queues outside Zara, Topshop/Topman, Hollister, River Island and Gilly Hicks before the centres opened.”
The Manchester Arndale shopping centre also welcomed a surge of shoppers, more than 90,000 between noon and 16.00 and more than 185,000 in total.
For Milton Keynes shopping centre thecentre:mk, it was fashion retailer Next which brought in the biggest crowds, with more than 2,000 people queuing outside the shop’s doors at 01.15 GMT.
Next’s Milton Keynes branch reported a rise in sales of 30 per cent and more than 26,000 consumers visited thecentre:mk during the first five hours of Boxing Day trading.
Robert Hall, thecentre:mk’s Centre Director, commented: “This is a crucial time for retailers and the phenomenal success we have seen over the Christmas and sale launch period is evidence of the strong local and regional pull of thecentre:mk.
“The sales are now in full swing and we are confident that with some huge reductions in stores including House of Fraser, John Lewis, Boots, Next, BHS and Marks & Spencer we will continue to attract more crowds as we move into 2013.”
But British Retail Consortium (BRC) Director General Helen Dickinson has warned that this optimism may be short-lived, as lack of growth will continue to be a problem for retailers in 2013.
Warning that any increases in spending are unlikely to outstrip shop price inflation, she said: “Sales have not collapsed but the pressure is coming from adapting to conditions that consistently deliver minimal year-on-year sales growth.
“There is only so much cost cutting and new efficiency retailers can achieve.
“As we look to the New Year, utility prices are likely to edge up inflation and people are keen to continue paying down their debt, which means the amount of money they have in their pockets will remain under pressure.
“So, 2013 will be characterised by more of the same and there’s every sign that the ongoing endurance test for retailers of trading in a largely no-growth environment is likely to continue well into next year.”