Fears of a slump in the holiday season proved to be unfounded as Boxing Day sales gave a boost to British retailers, The Telegraph reported.
According to the newspaper, shoppers spent over £2.7 billion in stores and online retailers all over the UK.
Analysts have forecasted that shoppers would most likely spend £2.97 billion by Friday both in brick-and-mortar stores and online.
If the prediction comes true, the total will beat last year's figure of £2.8 billion, the report said citing data from the British Retail Consortium and the Centre for Retail Research.
International tourists were among the thousands hitting the high streets for today's Boxing Day sales, with retail experts saying foreign nationals spend on average four times more than domestic shoppers.
While shoppers from Qatar spend the most per transaction - on average £1714, tax-free shopping company Global Blue said Chinese shoppers were more likely to return to the tills with more goods at an average of £1,367 a pop.
Sue West, retail director at Selfridges, said the Boxing Day sales are very important for its international customers.
"The Chinese market is hugely important to Selfridges. It's one of the fastest growing international markets that we have," she said.
Chinese couple Wang Tianyi, 21, and Sun Yeting, also 21, were queueing outside Selfridges on Oxford Street in Central London from 4am and planned to head straight for the luxury items.
"We will buy the things we like," Mr Tianyi said.
Hundreds of thousands of bargain hunters have swarmed into shopping centres across the region today as the annual post-Christmas sales got into swing.
At Highcross Shopping Centre in Leicester, bosses reported one of their most successful Christmas seasons on record, with 80,000 shoppers predicted to descend on the centre to bag a bargain.
That is up four per cent on last year.
Centre general manager Jo Tallack said they were on track for a 2.5 per cent sales growth for Boxing Day alone, as shoppers had been queuing since before 5am to be among the first to raid the racks.
Meanwhile in Birmingham, the Bullring was braced for an estimated 200,000 eager shoppers - with almost 2,000 already lining up outside the doors from half past midnight for the popular Next sale.
A further 150,000 people are expected to hit day two of the sales tomorrow.
In Nottingham, more than 100,000 shoppers were expected to hit both the Victoria Centre and the Broadmarsh Centre on the hunt for cut-price clothing.
The Next sale was a major focal point again, with around 3,000 people queuing from 1am ahead of the 6am opening time.
There was a crowd of 3,500 festive bargain-hunters queuing outside Selfridges in London this morning with the first person arriving at the store at 11.30pm on Christmas Day, a spokeswoman said.
Long queues formed at Gucci, Mulberry, Prada and other various designer concessions within the store.
Online sales at Selfridges are up 110% on last year, she added.
Thousands of shoppers have begun hunting for bargains in the Boxing Day sales, with some stores having been open from as early as 6am.
Early risers on Twitter have reported seeing shoppers queueing up waiting for stores to open for the Boxing Day sales, especially at branches of Next across the UK.
Thousands of shoppers are set to hit the high street today but retail websites have already seen a huge surge in online shopping.
- It was expected that some 117 million visits to retail websites were made in the UK on Christmas Day.
- The figure will increase today with 118 million expecting to visit the sites.
- Between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day some 45 million hours would have been spent shopping online.
- By the end of December, it is estimated there will have been three billion visits to retail websites in the UK, which will be the first time that figure has been reached in a single month.
Figures from global information services group Experian.
Hundreds of thousands of people are set to hit the high street in search of a festive bargain today as popular chains slash their prices by up to 50%.
Online shoppers have already snapped up some goods on Christmas Eve but to lure people to the high street, some stores are laying on food and entertainment.
Harrods is kicking off its winter sale with the promise of mugs of hot chocolate, smoked salmon canapes and blankets to keep people warm in the queue, all while being serenaded by a string quartet and watching a performance by street magician Dynamo.
Department stores Selfridges and Liberty will be offering designer goods at a fraction of their usual price, while both Next and Marks & Spencer are boasting a discount of up to 50% on sale items.
If previous years are anything to go by, keen shoppers will start queuing up from the crack of dawn on Boxing Day to be first in line.
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