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Bargain hunters in 6am sales rush

Pictures Martin Bostock. Shoopers taking advantage of the Boxing Day sales in Blackpool. Amanda Evans (left) and Jaqueline Bleeker.

Pictures Martin Bostock. Shoopers taking advantage of the Boxing Day sales in Blackpool. Amanda Evans (left) and Jaqueline Bleeker.

BOXING Day sales records were smashed as shoppers sent tills into meltdown.

In true British style orderly queues formed outside shops before shutters opened and bargains were unveiled at 6am.

Keen to make a saving and willing to buy their Christmas presents a few days later than usual, bargain hunters hit the Houndshill shopping centre in the town centre.

Ann Gardiner, 61, had saved most of her gift shopping until yesterday in a bid to get some bargains for her four sons and 13 grandchildren.

She told The Gazette: “I came straight out after my breakfast. My grandchildren get their presents after I’ve been to the sales.

“I love the Boxing Day sales; the children look forward to the second batch and I get to save money.”

The grandmother, who was visiting Blackpool from Barrow in Furness for a Christmas break, added: “It’s worth coming to Blackpool just for the sales, we don’t have the same shops.”

Chloe Hilton, 16, from Blackpool, had made the trip to town to hit the sales early before starting work.

She said: “I’ve bought for myself with money I got for Christmas.

“I come to the Boxing Day sales every year and usually shop in Blackpool anyway. Some of the queues were really big and River Island was really busy.”

Amanda Evans, 31, a paramedic who worked on Christmas Day, said she had bought extra presents in the sales ahead of her own Christmas celebrations later this week.

She and mum Jacqueline Bleeker, 50, arrived in town at 6am to start early.

Amanda, from South Shore, said: “We’ve done well and we’ve no bruises.

“There were big queues when we arrived, people looked like they were limbering up to get in and when the shutters went up at Next they were ducking under them, it was like a sea of people.”

Jacqueline, also from South Shore, added: “A woman in front of us was spending £600. It’s been busy today and really busy in the days running up to Christmas I think.”

Amanda added: “Boxing Day sales have become a bit of a tradition.”

Across the country, thousands of bargain-hunters waited for stores to throw open their doors.

Some had queued overnight.

In London’s West End shopping areas, footfall was up 31.3 per cent on Boxing Day last year, with sales fuelled by tourists eager to spend. The UK average footfall was up by 21.6 per cent, the retailers’ body said.

In London’s bustling Oxford Street, flagship store Selfridges reported its most successful first hour of trade ever, with £1.5m rattling through the tills.

Three thousand shoppers were waiting outside the shop at 7am, and the first purchases were made within two minutes.

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