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Shoppers queue from 4am to bag a Boxing Day bargain

PUBLISHED: 16:16 26 December 2018

Shoppers out in force in Norwich for the Boxing Day sales. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Shoppers out in force in Norwich for the Boxing Day sales. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Bargain hunters queued from 4am to bag Boxing Day deals in the post-Christmas Norwich sales.

Boxing Day shoppers on Hay Hill in Norwich city centre. Photo: Bethany WalesBoxing Day shoppers on Hay Hill in Norwich city centre. Photo: Bethany Wales

Bargain hunters queued from 4am to bag Boxing Day deals in the post-Christmas Norwich sales.

Next department store on Hay Hill, Norwich, attracted a queue which stretched past the tunnel of light and down Gentleman’s Walk, with some savvy shoppers turning out as early as 4am to secure their spot.

The store’s Boxing Day price cuts are well-known for luring crowds and with doors opening at 6am, it was the first shop in the city to start trading.

Janice Self from Salhouse was one of the first in the queue, arriving just after 4am. The grandmother-of-two said she decided to treat herself to a few bargains after being given the all-clear from cancer seven months ago.

Boxing Day shoppers on Gentleman's Walk in Norwich city centre. Photo: Bethany WalesBoxing Day shoppers on Gentleman's Walk in Norwich city centre. Photo: Bethany Wales

She said: “I used to be here every year but I’ve had a few years out while I’ve been poorly.

“My husband thinks I’m crazy but it’s good fun and I’m an early riser anyway. I’ve found a few things for myself and I’ve got him a pair of slippers so now I’m going to go and find something nice for my daughter’s new flat in the home department.”

Louise Page, Norwich, also had a few years out from Boxing Day bargain hunting and said she was surprised by how small the queue was when she arrived at 4.30am.

“I got here early because previous years it’s been really queued but I was right out the front with only about 10 people in front of me. I think online is really killing the high street but it is nice not to be bustled about or have to queue.”

Boxing Day deals on London Street in Norwich city centre. Photo: Bethany WalesBoxing Day deals on London Street in Norwich city centre. Photo: Bethany Wales

The Norwich resident said she felt sorry for the staff that had to be in work early the day after Christmas but added it was “the nature of the retail beast”.

Despite the reported decline in shoppers, a Next store manager said this was the busiest she had seen it in five years.

She said: “We had about 800 people in the queue before we opened the doors at 6am which is more than we’ve seen for the past few years.

“It’s a busy day and it goes pretty quick so it’s alright working. It is what it is.”

Boxing Day shoppers on Gentleman's Walk in Norwich city centre. Photo: Bethany WalesBoxing Day shoppers on Gentleman's Walk in Norwich city centre. Photo: Bethany Wales

As the morning continued and more shops opened their doors, shoppers continued to flock to the city centre.

Marilyn Glover and her children Taylor, four, Lydia, seven and Tara, nine, spent three hours in Chapelfield hunting for new clothes.

The Blofield mother of three said: “I must be bonkers but my partners at work so I thought we might as well get next year’s clothes sorted. The kids have been patient but I think we’re all ready to go back now.”

Terry Roads and wife Karen said they do not bother buying any gifts until Boxing Day.

Mr Roads said: “It’s better for us to wait until it all comes down because you end up paying half what you would before the day. We don’t bother with surprises, I’d rather know what I’m getting and make sure I get it right!”

However not everyone was as pleased to be in the city centre the day after Christmas.

Jonathon Clegg from Worstead said he only bothered driving into the city to pick up his daughter Claire, who started her shift at Next at 7am this morning.

He said: “There’s so many people wandering around and I just think go home, let these shop people have a day off with their family over Christmas. It’s sad that all they want to do is shop about.”

In Lowestoft town centre the streets were full of shoppers trying to nab a bargain.

And for mother and daughter duo Betty Richardson and Sharon Warner Boots was the pick of the crop

Mrs Warner said: “It was very busy in Boots because they had son many great offers. I got some gifts ready for next year, Ted Baker and French Connection fragrances.”

Mrs Richardson added: “I would rather shop in store than shop online – but I think it would have been busier if the council lowered the prices of the car parks.”

Boots manager James Vater said: “It’s been a really busy, solid day. It’s always busy on Boxing Day. We have this sale every year with half prices so anything Christmas is raided.

“I haven’t got official figures but it feels as busy if not busier than last year.”

One of north Norfolk’s most well-known department stores, Bakers & Larners of Holt – based in the centre of the Georgian town – decided to keep its door closed until Thursday December 27.

And while many other independent shops across north Norfolk followed suit and opted to remain closed too, others were quick to promote Boxing Day deals.

Online, there were a few deals to be had.

Owners of The White House in Aylsham, a self-catering holiday cottage, offered between £100 to £175 off breaks. And Aldiss, of Fakenham, which did open between 10am and 5pm on Boxing Day, promoted up to half price off on many items across the store.

But some people said the sales were “not the same” anymore.

Dereham resident, Justin Dack, took to social media to voice his concerns.

He said: “Does anyone else miss the Woolworths sale? I used to love a good rummage in Woolworths on Boxing Day. Just went to Tesco and there is nothing at all in the sale. It’s not the same.”

Paul McCarthy, general manager at intu Chapelfield in Norwich, said it had been a “good, fun, vibrant day”.

“I have been here since 8am and it has just got busier and busier,” he said. “Our car park filled up quite early but that didn’t have an impact on Grapes Hill, and some stores had some queues outside in the morning because of the bargains.

“Generally speaking I would put it at least as good, if not better, than last year.”

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