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Shoppers queue for a Boxing Day bargain

PUBLISHED: 12:01 26 December 2019 | UPDATED: 12:18 26 December 2019

Queues form outside Marks and Spencer in Norwich before the Boxing Day sales begin. Picture: Staff

Queues form outside Marks and Spencer in Norwich before the Boxing Day sales begin. Picture: Staff

Shoppers eager for a Boxing Day bargain queued outside some of the major high street stores before 9am – giving the region’s retailers a welcome boost.

Queues form outside Marks and Spencer before the Boxing Day sales begin. Picture: StaffQueues form outside Marks and Spencer before the Boxing Day sales begin. Picture: Staff

In Norwich, people gathered outside stores like Marks and Spencer and clothing store Fat Face, both of which had half-price sales on. Meanwhile, shopping centre managers across Norfolk and Suffolk reported optimistic sales figures compared with the same time last year.

With the Brexit uncertainty over and retailers offering more discounts, shoppers turned out in force in the high street in the run-up to Christmas and many were choosing Boxing Day to leave their armchairs to pick up some more bargains.

A spokesman for Norwich's Castle Quarter, speaking on Thursday morning, said: "There is a good buzz throughout the whole of the centre, most of the shops are open and some are offering sales of up to 75pc off. Car parks are filling up nicely and we predict this is a really good start to Boxing Day for Castle Quarter. People are out spending money and having a good time."

People waiting for the shops to open on Boxing Day morning. Picture: StaffPeople waiting for the shops to open on Boxing Day morning. Picture: Staff

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And Stefan Gurney, executive director of Norwich BID, the Norwich Business Improvement District, also said footfall was up last week compared to the last few months. "With Brexit, people are feeling more secure about finance and making a few more decisions. We are still collating figures but our gut feeling is that Christmas has been very encouraging."

Britons are expected to spend £200m less in the post-Christmas sales this year.

Keeping with tradition, several shops in the city opened earlier than usual, including Next, on Hayhill, which opened at 6am.

Others, though, opted to stay closed for the day, including department stores Jarrold and John Lewis.

In Suffolk, Ipswich's Buttermarket, footfall was up by more than 3pc, well ahead of the average for the east of England. Allan Hassell, centre manager, said: "The Buttermarket Centre is up by more than 3.3pc like for like, compared against the east of England, which down by -2.7pc - this puts us at more than 6pc ahead of the average for the east of England.

"However, overall, life on the high street is still generally challenging for retailers, restaurants and leisure, but Ipswich generally is proving to be a more robust and buoyant town than many others - for that we are extremely grateful to our marvellous local customers for supporting the Buttermarket Centre and the town as a whole."


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