Retailers enjoyed a much-needed uplift on Boxing Day as bargain hunters flocked to the high street, spending £3.74bn in the Sales.
High street footfall was up 11.7% year on year on Boxing Day, while in shopping centres it was up 7.8% and retail parks increased by 3.2%, according to research firm Springboard.
Selfridges had its biggest ever first hour of trade on December 26, taking more than £2m across its stores between 9am and 10am. Shoppers queued around the corner to get into Harrods in Knightsbridge.
Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of New West End Company, said wealthy tourists were fuelling sales: “50% of our shoppers [in the West End of London] are tourists, particularly from China, the Middle East and the US, and they probably spend about four or five times the amount of a UK shopper.
”We are seeing more Chinese here than ever before, which is good news for our retailers, and they are spending a healthy amount of money, which is good for our stores.”
Gordon McKinnon, operations director at shopping centre operator Intu, said: “The Christmas festivities didn’t prevent die-hard shoppers from an early start on Boxing Day and queuing up to ensure they had first pick of the bargains. Across the UK, we witnessed large queues of shoppers all waiting to get their hands on discounted products at leading retailers.”
John Lewis stores remained closed on Boxing Day, but its Sale launched online at 5pm on Christmas Eve. The company said it got off to a “strong start”, with sales during the first hour of trading up 17.7% on last year.