Thousands of bargain-hunting customers flocked to shopping centres across the north yesterday to look for goodies in the Boxing Day sales.
Significant numbers of the public were on the go as early as 5am to ensure first entry to department stores, with around 80 people gathering in Inverness waiting for the doors of Next and Debenhams to open.
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Around 25,000 shoppers were estimated to have been involved in the various sales pitches at the Eastgate Centre in Inverness.
Matters were slightly less hectic in Elgin with the St Giles Centre operating on its Sunday hours, although a flurry of shoppers came through the doors at 11am.
Jackie Cuddy, centre manager at the Eastgate Shopping Centre, said: “It has been very busy and we have had thousands pass through the doors so far today, but generally it has been really smooth.
“Most people come and know what they are going to buy, so they don’t spend an awful lot of time browsing. It never ceases to amaze me also how busy the food outlets are on Boxing Day.
“Last Saturday and Christmas Eve were extremely busy, but today has definitely been busier which is great.”
Festive displays in shop windows were replaced by signs signalling the extent of the hefty discounts on offer with some prices slashed by as much as 70%.
In a report prepared by Barclaycard, it was anticipated that three in 10 people were planning to take advantage of the Boxing Day deals on what they describe as the most popular shopping day of the Christmas sales period.
Craig Stevenson, centre manager at Bon Accord in Aberdeen, said: “We have had a good start to the day with queuing beginning at 5am with hundreds of people waiting to get in. There has been a real buzz across the day in what we anticipate being our second busiest day of the year, just behind the final Saturday in the run-up to Christmas.
“Usually on Boxing Day, the morning tends to be busier but we have not seen it drop off and it has continued to be busy, despite Aberdeen also playing at home.
“The John Lewis sale begins tomorrow and we tend to see a second busy day as historically the store is closed on Boxing Day.
“People are keen for a bargain and they generally just accept that it is going to be a bit busier on Boxing Day.”
Ryan Manson, general manager at Union Square in Aberdeen, said: “There’s a lot of demand for our cinema and restaurants today, as consumers look for a day out after spending most of yesterday at home.
“There’s been several big new film releases recently, including Mary Poppins Returns, Aquaman, and Spiderman into the Spider-Verse, which are proving a major draw.”