The Boxing Day sales tradition may not carry the weight of importance they once held but there were still queues outside some shops in Blackpool early on December 26.
With Next opening at 6am for bright and breezy bargain hunters and the Houndshill Shopping Centre ready for action early doors, a hardy bunch of shoppers braved the chilly winds.
Queues formed outside Debenhams department store waiting for the shutters to rise and the Pandora jewellery shop saw staff have to put up rope barriers outside to keep people in line.
Retailers in Blackpool have complained about the road works around town putting people off shopping.
And many shoppers said that the early crowds they remember from years ago were simply not there in the centre of town.
Jeff Lever from Central Blackpool said sales seemed to be an all year round thing these days.
He said: “They start the sales well before Christmas now so it is not the big thin it used to be.
“I am always a little bit suspicious of the sales.
“I go in and see things that I have not seen in the shops all year before. I wonder if they have a special warehouse somewhere for sales items they want to get rid of.
“Sometimes you see a pair of trousers for £30 in the sale and you think they were never £60 before.
“But if you look carefully you can find a bargain.”
James Ballard from Central Blackpool said: “I am here to see what there is on sale. I am not after anything in particular just looking for a good price. It seems to be a bit quieter this year, last year was fairly busy around the shops.
“I saw a pair of shoes before the sales but unfortunately they haven’t reduced the price on those.”
Jean Lever from Chorley said: “It is a little bit quieter this year. I think most people have spent up before Christmas and people so not have as much money this year because wages have not really gone up and many people are out of work.
“I am surprised places like Next here have opened at 6am. But I suppose if there are bargains there then it is first come first served. I am looking for a nice new jacket but the one I wanted was not in the sale.”
Tiegan Holmes and Amy Collier from Blackpool North were in the queue outside Pandora. They were looking forward to a bit of retail therapy and to pick up a bargain or two.
Tiegan said: “I will probably spend a couple of hours going round the shops.
“I think the Boxing Day sales are still important and we wanted to get in the queue early for Pandora.”
Amy said: “I am here for a shopping expedition to look around the sales and see what there is on offer. We wanted to get here early to beat the crowds and we have done that.”
Luke Johnson from Bispham was also in the queue at Pandora.
He said: “I am here to get my girlfriend a present from the jewellery shop and then I will go around and see whatever there is on offer that catches my eye.”
He said some of the shops will have sales later in the festive season on their internet websites and early in the New Year but he wanted to see what was available now.
He added: “I did not want to wait a couple of days and then try to order on line.”
Martin Davis from South Shore had visited Debenhams with his wife Janine.
He said: “They had perfumes on offer which we were after and I was looking for some new trousers which I managed to get. It was not as busy as I thought it would be early on but as the morning went on it began to get quite busy.”
Janine said: “Yes there are more people coming in now, I think people were recovering from Christmas Day so they couldn’t do an early start.
“I think the free parking following the road works problems helps.
“We are off to Jack Jones next. They have a 50 per cent off sale and we are after something for my nephew.”
Around one in three Britons (34 per cent) were thought to be at the festive sales, up from 23 per cent on last year, according to Barclaycard.
Consumer appetite for the post-Christmas sales period fell last year after an extended period of discounting that began well before November’s Black Friday.
This year Barclaycard, VoucherCodes and the Centre for Retail Research all said the economic squeeze meant more people would be bargain hunting and were set to spend a record £4.3bn - a 12 per cent rise on 2016.