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.
On the way into early turn shift, driving past the local Next store, queues around the block!! What's that all about, cant the sales wait!
Harringay now has it's very own sales queues. On the aIrport run at 5AM saw a big queue outside Next Harringay
Christmas 2013 has consistently outperformed 2012 on virtually every single shopping day this December, with online visits from Christmas Eve through to Boxing Day up from last year, a record breaking Cyber Monday and the emergence of the even busier Middle Cyber Monday.
Shopping habits are changing, with Christmas Day becoming a significant shopping day during the period.
As a result, we anticipate a more sustained shopping pattern during this period, moving away from the traditional peaks and troughs usually evident during holiday season.
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.
Discount chain 99p Stores are planning to expand by another 70 shops in a move set to create over 2,000 jobs.
The group wants to go from 240 shops to 310 by the end of 2015 after securing £25 million from lender Barclays.
Around 2,100 workers will be taken on in the expansion - with each new store needing around 30 staff.
The chain has grown rapidly since the demise of Woolworths in 2008, with bargain retailers 99p Stores and Poundland now regular fixtures of high streets across the UK.
Poundland is also said to be planning on expanding - the chain is reportedly aiming to list on the stock market next year to raise cash to double its UK stores to around 1,000.
A five-year-old girl who wrote a letter of apology to department store John Lewis after she broke a bauble has been found following a social media campaign.
The girl, who signed her name as Faith, sent the letter after she accidentally broke the decoration while visiting a shop in Cambridge.
Branch manager Dominic Joyce launched a bid to find the girl on Twitter using the tag #findfaith, saying he would like to thank her for the "adorable gesture".
John Lewis confirmed that the girl's parents had been in touch this morning but had indicated that no further thanks was needed.