The Trafford Centre had to warn visitors that it was FULL today as shoppers flocked to the second day of post-Christmas sales.
Drivers were greeted with electronic boards saying ‘centre full’ as they arrived at the Greater Manchester retail hub on Sunday afternoon.
Queue’s of shoppers tried to get into the Trafford Centre to snap up some bargains, as shops remained open in the Tier 3 city.
On Boxing Day, in places spared Tier 4 restrictions and the closure of all non-essential shops, hardy bargain hunters took to high streets from as early as 4am.
In Leicester, which is a Tier 3 city, around 200 people had formed a socially distanced queue by 5.50am outside a branch of Next.
The streets of Newcastle, Birmingham and Liverpool – which are in Tier 3 and Tier 2 respectively – were also packed as shoppers hunted for bargains.
By contrast, London’s most popular shopping streets including Oxford Street and Regent Street were almost deserted as coronavirus rules stopped all but a handful of retailers from opening.
There were, however, no such restrictions online where an estimated 15 million people logged on to snap up products discounted by up to 80 per cent.
Queues of people waited in the cold outside the Trafford Centre, Manchester, to try and buy bargains
Drivers were greeted with signs saying: ‘Centre full’ as they flocked to the shopping hub on the second day of post-Christmas sales
Masked shoppers waited outside the centre which was full due to the high volume of people hunting the sales
Shoppers leave the centre with a Selfridges bag while a large queue forms outside with people eager to get to the bargains
Large crowds of shoppers are pictured out in force hunting for bargains on Newcastle’s Northumberland Street yesterday as the traditional Boxing Day sales get underway
Regent Street in London stood empty during what would normally be the Boxing Day sales. Tier 4 Covid-19 restrictions have forced non-essential retailers and businesses to close
Bargain hunters wearing face masks can be seen carrying bags on Newcastle’s Northumberland Street yesterday during the Boxing Day sales
People walk along a largely empty Oxford Street in the capital city, which remains under Tier 4 restrictions, meaning that all non-essential shops and businesses must close
While footfall was down across the country, experts predicted that online retailers would rake in £1.9 billion during the 16 hours when people were awake – working out at almost £32,000 each second.
The Centre for Retail Research predicted that online Boxing Day sales would leap 56 per cent year on year.
An estimated £2.7 billion will be spent on the internet by the New Year, according to research by Barclaycard Payments. Rob Cameron, its chief executive, said: ‘While high street footfall will be down, we’re optimistic that an online shopping boost will give retailers a much-needed uplift as they head into the New Year.’
Overall, Boxing Day sales were expected to be worth £3.2 billion – a 26 per cent year-on-year fall.
Boris Johnson urged people to ‘think carefully’ about avoiding crowds, but hundreds of shoppers were seen queuing outside shops in Tier 1, 2 and 3 areas – even though footfall as a whole was down 40 per cent from last year, according to retail analyst agency Springboard.
In areas where stores were open, shoppers stayed local with market town footfall down 49 per cent, far less than the 71 per cent seen in large out-of-town shopping centres. In Tier 4 areas, footfall plunged 77 per cent year-on-year.
Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: ‘Boxing Day has been attracting less retail footfall each year in five of the past seven years as shoppers turn online to grab the best bargains.
‘It has been evolving into more of a leisure based day, with shoppers starting their trips later on in the day, and combining shopping trips with eating out and catching up with family and friends.
Mounted police can be seen patrolling Carnaby Street in London as shops remain closed under Tier 4 restrictions, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic
‘We expected a drop in footfall… but this year, after spending so much time online, consumers are experts at online shopping, whereby they know they can enjoy the same discounts, from the comfort and safety of their own home.’
Several High Street favourites, including Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and John Lewis, kept some or all of their stores shut yesterday – even in areas where they could have opened. M&S had planned to open more than 200 shops, but decided to let staff have a break after a ‘uniquely challenging’ year.
Stores like Debenhams and Topshop, which have both entered administration in recent weeks, offered massive online sales. A black sequin maxi dress from Principles, for example, was down 80 per cent from £49 to £10 and Kurt Geiger snake print wedges slashed by 79 per cent from £89 to £19.
Fast fashion behemoth Boohoo offered discounts of up to 91 per cent, with one red tasseled beach dress on sale for just £1.
At the other end of the retail market, Harrods was offering a pair of Jimmy Choo leopard-print knee high boots for £1,470, down 50 per cent. Its Knightsbridge store was closed due to Tier 4 rules.
Retail expert Richard Hyman said the importance of Boxing Day to retailers had dwindled. ‘Years ago Boxing Day sales were really significant and now they’re not,’ he said. ‘When you’ve got sales on pretty much each of the other 364 days in the year, Boxing Day stops being particularly special.’
Shoppers in Liverpool city centre laden with bags this morning as they take advantage of the Boxing Day sales. Six in 10 (61 per cent) people said they would not consider shopping with a retailer unless they have a sale on, according to a survey
Shoppers queue outside a Next store as they hunt for bargains during the Boxing Day sales in central Liverpool. A survey has found that shoppers are planning to spend £162 on average online in the post-Christmas sales
Shoppers queued from 4am to take advantage of retail giant Next’s Boxing Day sales at Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham this morning. Footfall for shopping is down 57 per cent in the UK up to 10am compared with last year
Around 200 people had formed a socially-distanced line by 5.50am outside Next in Leicester, which is under Tier 3 restrictions.
The long queues came in stark contrast to the scenes captured in London, with Regent Street and Oxford Street left deserted as the city remains under Tier 4 rules.
A survey has also found that shoppers are planning to spend £162 on average online in the post-Christmas sales, with clothes and shoes topping wish-lists, followed by food and drink, homeware and stationery.
Many areas move into Tier 4 yesterday, meaning people were not be able to visit stores in person as all non-essential shops and businesses must close.
Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire moved into Tier 4, created in response to a variant of Covid-19 discovered in the UK, from Saturday.
The parts of Essex still in Tier 2, Waverley in Surrey and Hampshire including Portsmouth and Southampton, but with the exception of the New Forest, also moved into the toughest tier.
The additional six million that went into Tier 4 takes the total number of people under the toughest restrictions to 24million – 43 per cent of England’s population. A further 24.8million will be in Tier 3.
Anna Naik, VoucherCodes.co.uk’s lifestyle editor, told The Times: ‘The post-Christmas sales are always one of the busiest times for retailers.
Shoppers queue outside Next in Leicester during the Boxing Day sales. The additional six million going into Tier 4 takes the total number of people under the toughest restrictions to 24million
The car park at Rushden Lakes Shopping Centre in Northamptonshire filling up on Boxing Day morning as the sales start in the shops. The Shopping Centre in Rushden is in Tier 3 but is only a mile from the Bedfordshire border, which is in Tier 4
The car park at Rushden Lakes Shopping Centre in Northamptonshire pictured on Boxing Day morning, as it fills up with shoppers
‘And while this is still the case, it’s not surprising to see a decline in sales for the third year in a row, especially due to the new restrictions in place for most of the country.’
Boxing Day spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with last year, as part of a downward trend in recent years and due to the impact of coronavirus restrictions.
Diane Wehrle commented: ‘It’s not going to be normal in the slightest. That’s really because much of the country is under Tier 4 restrictions, which is going to severely impact Boxing Day sales and push people online.
‘But there’s a bit of comfort buying coming into play, because people can’t go out, which is good for retailers. The problem is, for the majority of retailers, the sales they get online are much smaller than what they get in-store.’
Boxing Day sales have declined over the past decade, and when asked if it is still an important trading day, Ms Wehrle added: ‘Boxing Day has become a different trading day in recent years – town centres 30 to 40 years ago were predominantly retail, whereas more recently there has been a boom in leisure and dining.
Nottingham High Street begins to fill up with shoppers during the Boxing Day sales yesterday, after appearing largely empty early in the morning
Shoppers wearing face masks begin to fill Nottingham High Street yesterday. Boxing Day spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with last year
Women wearing face masks walk past a shop window advertising discounts in Bournemouth during the Boxing Day sales
Shoppers on Commercial Road in Bournemouth carrying shopping bags during the Boxing Day sales. Bournemouth is currently under Tier 2 restrictions
A woman carrying Primark and River Island shopping bags leaves a store in Bournemouth during the Boxing Day sales
Shoppers on Commercial Road in Bournemouth during the sales yesterday. Boxing Day spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with a year ago
Two women walk past a shop window advertising half-price discounts in Bournemouth during the Boxing Day sales
Two people carrying Primark shopping bags walk through Bournemouth during the Boxing Day sales on Saturday
Two shoppers are seen in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, during the Boxing Day sales yesterday afternoon, with a 70 per cent off sign seen in the background
A mannequin promotes a sale in a shop window in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, during the Boxing Day sales
A sign with coronavirus advice, reading ‘only we can stop the spread’, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, during the Boxing Day sales
A sign reading ‘sale 70 per cent off’ as shoppers are pictured in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, during the Boxing Day sales
‘So Boxing Day shopping has become an opportunity to go out and socialise – when shoppers do go out, they go later they make much more of a leisure day of it, so it’s still quite an important day in the calendar, and we expect more sales will come later in the day.’
Boxing Day sales shopping this year will largely need to be done online as stricter lockdown rules in many areas have forced high street stores to shut.
Research from Barclaycard found a third (33 per cent) of people also plan to spend more in the post-Christmas sales than they did during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with the main reason being the belief that the post-Christmas deals are better.
The study found Boxing Day is the most popular day to start sales shopping, with more than a quarter (27 per cent) surveyed in early December looking to make purchases on this day, up slightly from 2019 (25 per cent).
A quarter (25 per cent) of sales shoppers will be looking for presents for themselves as they deserve a treat due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, while a similar proportion (24 per cent) will be treating friends and family more than usual, for the same reason.
A person wearing a mask passes shuttered stores on an unusually quiet Oxford Street in London yesterday. Boxing Day is traditionally a very busy time for retailers when they expect large footfall due to discounts and sales
The doors to Hamleys toy store on Regent Street in London remain closed due to the Tier 4 coronavirus restrictions on what would normally be the Boxing Day sales
Masked people pass a shuttered Topshop on an unusually quiet Oxford Street. More stringent Covid restrictions now apply to millions more people, as rule changes come into force across the UK
A masked man passes a shuttered House of Fraser store on Oxford Street in London, with a half-price discount sign seen
A masked man window shops on a largely empty Carnaby Street in London yesterday. Some 24million people in England, over 40 per cent of the population, have gone into Tier 4
A woman passes shuttered stores on Oxford Street in London on Boxing Day. The toughest measures mean the closure of non-essential shops
A masked woman passes a shuttered store decorated with Christmas trees on Regents Street in London on Boxing Day
Regent Street stood largely empty in the capital city yesterday. Boxing Day spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with a year ago
A man runs past shuttered stores on Oxford Street in London as the capital city remains under Tier 4 restrictions
An unusually quiet Carnaby Street in London yesterday, pictured with the signs ‘hope’, ‘hero’, ‘future’, ‘wish’ and ‘thank you London’
A near-deserted Regent Street is pictured in the capital city on Boxing Day as Londoners continue to live under Tier 4 lockdown restrictions amid fears over new strains and a surge in infections
A masked man passes closed stores on an unusually quiet Carnaby Street in London as the capital city remains under Tier 4 restrictions
A quiet Oxford Street in London during what would normally be the Boxing Day sales. It comes in stark contrast to the scenes pictured at Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas, where shoppers were queuing from 4am yesterday morning
Masked people pass shuttered stores on Oxford Street in London. Tier 4, the toughest Covid-19 measure, means the closure of all non-essential shops and businesses
People pass shuttered stores with ‘sale now on’ signs on Oxford Street in London. Boxing Day is traditionally a very busy time for retailers
People wearing face masks walk past the closed doors of the Debenhams store on Oxford Street, London, yesterday after extensive new restrictions forced non-essential retailers to close
A thrifty 22 per cent are also taking advantage of the Christmas sales to buy last-minute presents for loved ones they will not be seeing over the festive season.
Six in 10 (61 per cent) people surveyed said they would not consider shopping with a retailer unless they have a sale on.
A third (33 per cent) of people surveyed said money saved by not socialising in 2020 had helped them to finance Christmas, with 22 per cent expecting to spend more in the sales as a result.
But just over two-fifths (41 per cent) of those who had saved money had put it into savings.
Rob Cameron, chief executive of Barclaycard Payments, said: ‘The Boxing Day and post-Christmas sales are much-loved British traditions and, following a tough year, retailers will be encouraged to see that shoppers are feeling generous this festive season.’
The traditional 5am Boxing Day sale still attracted large numbers who were more closely managed in a socially-dtsanced queueing system outside the Next store in Silverlink Retail Park, North Tyneside
Shoppers are seen entering a Next store during the Boxing Day sales in central Liverpool yesterday morning while wearing face masks and using a sanitising station
Shoppers are pictured queuing at Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham as they lined up from 4am to take advantage of the sales at retail giant Next
People seen queueing outside Next in Silverlink Retail Park, North Tyneside, as the traditional 5am Next Boxing Day sales still attracted large numbers yesterday morning
Shoppers pictured queueing outside Next at the Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham. Trade is forecast to drop by 26 per cent to £3.2billion, falling for the third year in a row
Shoppers in Leicester during the Boxing Day sales. Spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with a year ago, after new Tier 4 restrictions forced non-essential retailers to close
Shoppers queue outside Next in Leicester during the Boxing Day sales. Research from Barclaycard found a third (33 per cent) of people also plan to spend more in the post-Christmas sales than they did during Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Shoppers lining up while wearing face masks outside a Next store in Leicester yesterday morning. Boxing Day spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with a year ago
Two shoppers are seen queueing outside Next in Leicester during the Boxing Day sales. Many shoppers are also splurging online, as Covid-19 restrictions forced non-essential retailers to close
Shoppers pictured queueing outside Next in Leicester yesteday morning. A thrifty 22 per cent are taking advantage of the Christmas sales to buy last-minute presents for loved ones they will not be seeing over the festive season
More than 2,000 people were surveyed across the UK by Opinium on behalf of Barclaycard between December 1 and 3.
Chris Daly, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, told MailOnline: ‘This is a Boxing Day like no other. With much of the country under the strictest coronavirus measures, retail footfall will be significantly lower than at any time in recent memory.
‘The Prime Minister himself has told us to avoid the Boxing Day crowds and many people will heed this advice, as new Covid cases rise sharply.
‘Yet for some, retail therapy might be exactly the light relief needed. After muted Christmas celebrations, we could see an increase in people in lower tier areas hitting the shops as an unintended consequence of the new rules leaving many at a loose end, unable to see family and friends.’
He added: ‘But in truth this once unmissable event for the bargain hunter has been in decline for some time. Christmas marketing campaigns now run from Black Friday right through to the January sales, and there are discounts to be had right through this period.
‘Meanwhile, as we enter a new year, we may see savvy shoppers choosing to hold back their spending and waiting for the inevitable clearance sales as more shops succumb to economic pressures.’
Shoppers in Liverpool city centre laden with bags this yesterday morning as they take advantage of the Boxing Day sales
Three shoppers waiting outside a Lush store in Liverpool city centre yesterday morning amid the Boxing Day sales. Bargain hunters were seen queuing as early as 4am
People queue outside Primark yesterday morning as shoppers hit the Boxing Day sales in Birmingham, which is under Tier 3 restrictions
Shoppers pictured carrying bags as they hit the Boxing Day sales in Birmingham, which is under Tier 3 restrictions, along with Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle
Shoppers queue outside a Next store as they hunt for bargains during the Boxing Day sales in central Liverpool
Shoppers queued from 4am as they hunted for bargains at retail giant Next at the Bullring Shopping Centre, Birmingham
Shoppers queue outside a Next store in central Liverpool early yesterday morning as they hunt for bargains during the Boxing Day sales
It follows England recording 32,725 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, according to the latest figures, as festive bubbles were cancelled for millions.
Nationwide figures weren’t released yesterday as the devolved nations’ tallies aren’t counted on the Government dashboard over Christmas.
In Tier 4, no household mixing is allowed, though one person can meet one other person outside in a public space, while all non-essential shops and businesses must close, including personal care and indoor entertainment.
Nobody can enter or leave Tier 4 areas and residents must not stay overnight away from home.
Meanwhile, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset including the North Somerset council area, Swindon, the Isle of Wight, the New Forest and Northamptonshire plus Cheshire and Warrington are moving up to Tier 3.
In the ‘very high’ alert level, no household mixing is allowed indoors or outdoors, except in parks and public gardens.
All hospitality is closed, except for takeaways and deliveries, and accommodation and entertainment venues must shut.
Plymouth city centre on Boxing Day morning. A third (33 per cent) of people said money saved by not socialising in 2020 had helped them to finance Christmas, according to a survey
Meanwhile, Nottingham saw a very quiet Boxing Day sales yesterday morning with streets largely empty in the city
A quiet Plymouth city centre on Boxing Day morning. Chris Daly, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, told MailOnline: ‘This is a Boxing Day like no other’
Two people pictured with Next bags while shopping during the Boxing Day sales in Nottingham, which was left largely empty
Cornwall and Herefordshire are moving up to Tier 2 from December 26, where the main restrictions are no household mixing allowed indoors, but the ‘rule of six’ applies outdoors.
Hospitality venues must close unless serving substantial meals with drinks, while large sport and entertainment events are allowed but with a very limited audience.
The Isles of Scilly, which has a population of just 2,000 people, will be the only area of England remaining in Tier 1.
In the lowest alert level, the ‘rule of six’ must apply indoors and outdoors, while there must be table service in hospitality venues, with last orders at 10pm and closing time at 11pm.
What are the different rules for each Tier?
Tier One is the default and measures will not be allowed to get more relaxed in any part of England:
- Rule of six and social distancing apply to gatherings indoors and outdoors;
- Pubs and restaurants are allowed to open with table service only and an 11pm closing time.
People from separate households cannot meet indoors and the rule of six applies outside;
- People from separate households cannot meet indoors and the rule of six applies outside;
- Pubs must close unless operating as restaurants, with alcoholic drinks served alongside meals;
All of the Tier Two rules apply to Tier Three as well as the following:
- Indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, theatres and bowling alleys must close;
- Pubs, restaurants and cafes must close except for takeaway;
- Shops and hairdressers and salons are allowed to remain open;
- Groups of six are allowed to meet outdoors only;
- People should avoid travelling out of, or into, Tier Three areas unless it is unavoidable.
All of the above apply to Tier Four as well as the following:
- Those in Tier 4 areas cannot meet people indoors from outside their own households at Christmas;
- People must not meet with another person socially or undertake any activities with someone outside their household;
- People can exercise or meet in a public outdoor place with people they live with, their support bubble, or with one other person;
- Non-essential shops must close, while supermarkets, pharmacies and garden centres will remain open;
- A ‘stay at home’ order, with exceptions including moving house, travelling to work or for education and caring responsibilities.