Shoppers head for Boxing Day sales

RETAILERS in East Anglia enjoyed one of their busiest ever Boxing Days as thousands of shoppers descended on stores to snap up some bargains.More stores opened in the region's High Streets compared to previous years, and in some places there were long queues before the doors were even unlocked.

RETAILERS in East Anglia enjoyed one of their busiest ever Boxing Days as thousands of shoppers descended on stores to snap up some bargains.

More stores opened in the region's High Streets compared to previous years, and in some places there were long queues before the doors were even unlocked.

Many retailers had said trade in the run up to Christmas was slow, but believed the next few weeks of the winter sales would be crucial.

Debenhams, Dixons and Woolworths were among the shops that opened their doors, and Neil Roberts, store manager of Debenhams in Ipswich, said it was the first time that the shop had opened on Boxing Day.


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He said: "The store opened at 10am and will shut at 6pm. It has been very busy and we had large queues of customers waiting outside the store. They were out there from about 8.30am and we had quite a queue of about 500 to 600 people.

"We had our early bird special discounts for customers and had designer jeans for £10. Throughout the store there have also been reductions of 70% and half price. There is definitely a demand there for Boxing Day opening.

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"The staff have really enjoyed it too. Any member of staff who worked did volunteer."

David Smith, the supervisor of Dixons in Tavern Street, Ipswich, said that the weeks before Christmas had not been as busy as hoped but there had been a rush of shoppers on a last minute dash.

Yesterday he said that about half of the shops were open in Ipswich town centre and it had been "hectic".

"Our sales have started and we opened at 9am and were basically the only people to. There was a huge influx of shoppers at 9am and we have been very busy; a lot busier than last year," he added.

"It is difficult to say how many people we have had in the store but I would say it has been like an average busy Saturday out of peak season."

The supervisor of Woolworths in Carr Street, Ipswich, said the store started its sales yesterday and was open from 9am until 4pm.

He added: "It has been quite good here. There are not many shops open at this end of the town. They are all up the other end, so we haven't had that many people coming up here."

Shops throughout Bury St Edmunds were busier than ever and a spokesman for Woolworths said it helped having more stores open on the day after Christmas.

He said: "We have been very busy all day and I think it is going to busier than last year.

"It has helped having more retailers in the town open – last year I think we were one of the only ones.

"We have been heaving and I am surprised so many people are out. But I think Boxing Day is going to become like Sunday trading and it will get bigger and bigger."

Like in Woolworths, staff at WHSmith experienced a busy build up to Christmas and the start of the sales yesterday followed suit.

Supervisor Jane Ansell said: "We have been really busy as we have more items than usual on sale.

"We opened for the first time last year and we expected to be at least the same and if not more busier this year."

In Colchester the shops which chose to open were reporting good customer turnouts for the start of the sales.

Not all of the businesses in the Culver Square shopping centre opened but for those which did many reported busy trading.

Gurd Singh one of the managers at the Virgin Mega Store in Culver Square, said it was definitely busier than last year.

He said: "It has been good, with healthy trade and we have had more people in than last year, although I am not sure what is selling particularly well."

Sandy Rush, the store manager of Courts furniture shop on the Turner Rise retail park, said business had been great.

She said: "It has been really, really good. We have had a lot of people through the doors and some were actually queuing up at 8am for opening the 9am start.

"Those ones knew what they wanted to buy and had the sales leaflets, although everything has been going well – it has been a great Boxing Day sale."

Nick Clarke, manager of Debenhams in Colchester said hundreds of people had queued up for about an hour for the start of the sales.

He said: "It has been fantastic, like the good old traditional sales. We had hundreds of people queuing up for 10am – I thought we would be able to count them all, but there were hundreds.

"The people came out in force and there was a really good atmosphere in the store – men's clothing, children's' clothing and home ware were all big sellers."

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