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Crowds snap up Boxing Day bargains...and they started queuing from 6am
2:06pm Thursday 26th December 2013 in News
CROWDS of shoppers armed with Christmas money flocked to high streets across south Essex to snap up Boxing Day bargains today.
More than 300 people were waiting for Next in the Victoria Shopping Centre, Southend, to open its doors at 6am today, with queues also reported outside its store in the Eastgate Shopping Centre, Basildon.
Queues were also reported outside Debenhams in the Basildon centre.
Zoe Gibbons, manager of the Southend store, said: “I came in at midday and it was chaos.
“There were customers everywhere and stock everywhere.
“It’s massive for us. 95 per cent of money taken on Boxing Day is from sale stock.
“People are always waiting outside.”
Huge red signs advertising discounts of up to 75 per cent were plastered across almost every window in shopping areas.
By midday, many shoppers could be seen clutching bags from high street chains.
New Look in Southend was offering 60 per cent off, Miss Selfridge 70 per cent and Blue Inc and Quiz 75 per cent.
Many retailers reported sluggish sales in the run up Christmas, with savvy shoppers waiting for last minute deals or doing their shopping on-line.
Stores hoping to recoup revenue attempted to tempt in customers with big discounts.
And many people appeared to have put their cold turkey and new gadgets aside to make the most of the savings.
Shirley Stone, assistant manager of Boots in Southend, said: “When I got here to open up there were lots of people outside.”
A bright, crisp day made for good shopping weather and burger vans and speciality sausage stalls in Southend High Street added to the atmosphere.
A pair of performers dressed in a lion and an elephant costume entertained shoppers by playing the drums in the recently vacated H&M store at the northern end of the street.
Mike Horton, of the Eastgate Shopping Centre, said: “It has picked up, it has gathered momentum throughout the morning and it looks like we will have a busy day by the end of it.
“The sales period is extremely important to retailers.
“We started opening on Boxing Day about a dozen years ago and it has been getting busier and busier every year.
“It’s an acceptable part of the holiday season now.”
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