Boxing Day boost for High Street shops

Thousands of shoppers descended on London's West EndImage copyright

Boxing Day sales and the three-day weekend have seen shoppers flock to the High Street, early figures show.

The number of people visiting High Street shops on Boxing Day increased 11.7% compared with last year, said retail analyst Springboard.

Visits to shopping centres increased 7.8% and retail parks were up 3.2% as stores benefited from Boxing Day falling on a Saturday.

The long weekend helped boost footfall by 8.9% in all shops on Sunday.

Millions of shoppers hit the streets after many also took advantage of online discounts on Christmas Day.

Online sales hit a record high on the day itself, up 21% on last year, according to web services group PCA Predict.

John Lewis reported a 10.7% increase in revenues on 25 December compared with last year, with the busiest time between 21:00 GMT and 22:00 GMT once families were finished with food and presents.

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Image caption

Shoppers queued outside Selfridges ahead of the Boxing Day sales

Springboard said shoppers ventured out later on Boxing Day this year as they used the “first few hours of the day to search for the best bargains online”.

Retailers including Harrods, Liberty, House of Fraser, Next and Marks & Spencer dropped their prices in store and offered more discounts online.

Selfridges said it took more than £2m between 09:00 GMT and 10:00 GMT on Boxing Day, its best first hour of trade to date.

Business was also brisk over the Christmas weekend in out-of-town retail parks, which have tended to fare better this year than High Street shops, according to Springboard.

Shoppers are using retail parks for “click and collect”, where they order online and then pick up their purchases in store, said Springboard director Diane Wehrle.

She told the BBC: “Landlords have improved the destinations so they have broadened the offer and brought in extra retailers, restaurants and coffee shops.

“You might click and collect some purchases, pop into some shops and then have a coffee or something to eat and possibly go to the cinema.”

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