Bargain hunters flock to shops in droves

It was a bargain-hunters paradise as the post-Christmas sales enticed shoppers into Ipswich town centre.

IPSWICH: It was a bargain-hunters paradise as the post-Christmas sales enticed shoppers into Ipswich town centre.

Thousands of people ignored the economic blues and took advantage of rock-bottom prices - with thousands more expected again today.

Despite the chilly temperatures, queues quickly formed outside high street stores yesterday and on Boxing Day as the sales bonanza began.

The ringing of cash tills will have been music to the ears of traders, many of whom are still struggling to overcome the effects of recession.

The sales are thought to have raked in millions of pounds nationwide after it emerged shoppers spent a staggering �951,000 per minute on Christmas Eve.

The spending is expected to continue throughout the week.

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William Stewart, from Tower Ramparts shopping centre, said the sales had already attracted masses of bargain hunters.

He said: “There have been lots of people out and about searching through the sales.

“It's been a busy couple of days.”

Shoppers across the country were expected to spend up to �22billion during the sales period.

In London, thousands of diehard shoppers lined the streets from as early as 2am on Boxing Day, while more than 100,000 people descended on Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.

However, there was a warning to anyone preparing to splash the cash.

A report by insolvency professionals R3 has revealed that almost four million people have gone into debt paying for Christmas.

The research also revealed that more than six million people fear that they won't have enough money to pay their bills due to festive spending.

What do you think of the post-Christmas sales? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Two of the UK's biggest retailers opened their stores to post-Christmas bargain hunters as figures showed a big rise in shoppers on the streets.

Rivals John Lewis and Marks & Spencer stayed shut on Boxing Day, but joined the high-street frenzy yesterday after launching their online sales a few days earlier.

Millions of shoppers were expected to flock to towns and cities up and down the country in a sign of improved confidence from a year earlier, in the worst depths of the recession.

Many will also bring forward spending to beat the VAT hike on January 1.

Initial footfall figures for Boxing Day from market data firm Experian showed an 18.5 per cent jump in the number of shoppers compared with last year.

Staff at Lakeside shopping centre in Essex said drivers arrived as early as 5am on Boxing Day to get to its branch of Next which opened an hour later.

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