BARGAIN hunters queued from 4am today to get their hands on the best deals in the Boxing Day sales.
People living in Tier 1, 2 and 3 areas - where non-essential shops are still allowed to open - got up bright and early after Christmas to buy some bargains.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updatesShoppers in Birmingham queued from 4am outside Next at the Bullring Shopping Centre Credit: Caters News Agency In North Tyneside, queues braved the early morning chill to make sure they were the first to get into the store at 5amCredit: North News and Pictures Queues quickly built outside the store for the traditional Boxing Day saleCredit: North News and Pictures Customers waited patiently outside shops in Liverpool ahead of big sales todayCredit: London News Pictures Newcastle was busy later in the morning as tens of thousands shopped for bargainsCredit: North News and Pictures
Many made the decision to hit their local high street - even after Boris Johnson urged Brits to keep away from busy sales as a mutant strain of Covid takes hold across the country.
Shoppers in North Tyneside were waiting outside Next for the sale when the store opened at 5am.
The shop - always a popular Boxing Day destination - set up a queuing system to allow customers to keep away from each other.
In Liverpool, shoppers could be seen leaving Next with bags full of goodies before the sun rose.NINTCHDBPICT000627529349Credit: Reuters
Dozens of people joined long queues outside the shop to get deals as early as possible.It comes despite Boris Johnson urging Brits to keep away from busy crowds at sales this year Credit: Caters News Agency The PM warned Brits to keep themselves safe as a mutant strain of Covid takes hold in the UKCredit: London News Pictures Despite that, many were up bright and early today to bag a bargainCredit: North News and Pictures In Liverpool, shop staff set up hand sanitising stations to keep customers safe Credit: London News Pictures Customers donned masks before heading into shops in ManchesterCredit: Zenpix The sales come at the end of a tough year for Brits Credit: Mercury Press
In Birmingham, security guards were hired to monitor shoppers waiting to head into Next.
People were seen waiting patiently behind metal barriers to get into the branch.
The store has been the big draw of the morning.
But many other shops have also attracted long queues.Edinburgh's Princes Street is rammed with people this afternoonCredit: Duncan McGlynn Long queues quickly built outside Primark in BirminghamCredit: Caters News Agency In Leicester, crowds waited to get into Next this morningCredit: PA:Press Association Liverpool has been busy all morning as thousands head for shopsCredit: Mercury Press But Oxford Street - Europe's busiest shopping district - stood empty as London is in Tier 4Credit: 2020 Martyn Wheatley / i-Images
Crowds have flocked to branches of Primark around the country to enjoy the sales.
Meanwhile, clothing companies including Urban Outfitters are also drawing in shoppers with huge discounts.
However, it's expected that most people will stay at home today - and it could be the biggest internet shopping day of the year.
Experts say £1.9billion will be spent online today as 15million bargain-hunters swamp websites.The Boxing Day sales are usually one of the biggest shopping days of the year Credit: Mercury Press But this year, retail experts say many will go online instead Credit: Mercury Press All non-essential shops in Tier 4 areas must shut - although those in Tiers 1 to 3 can stay openCredit: Mercury Press Shoppers sit surrounded by bulging Next bags in Manchester Credit: Zenpix
The spree could be four times bigger than an average day’s outlay and could edge ahead of the Black Friday record.
Store spending is likely to fall by 56 per cent on last year.
Though Brits could part with a total of £3.2billion, the store value will be around £1.4billion of that, a VoucherCodes.co.uk study with the Centre for Retail Research showed.Not all sales were busy this morning, with Nottingham, in Tier 3, staying quiet Credit: SWNS:South West News Service Shoppers with huge Next bags visit Urban Outfitters to make the most of the dayCredit: SWNS:South West News Service Liverpool and Birmingham city centres are both busy this morningCredit: Caters News Agency
The slump in spending at brick-and-mortar shops comes as 24 million people in the south and east are now in the country's strictest tier.
In Tier 4, all shops classed as non-essential are shut.
Across England, 43 per cent of the population are now in the strictest tier.
Ahead of Christmas, Mr Johnson told shoppers to stay away from the sales this year.
He told Brits during a national address: "Whatever your plans for Christmas, please think carefully about avoiding crowds in the Boxing Day sales, and no one should be gathering in large groups to see in the New Year.”
Some retailers, including Asda and almost all John Lewis shops, will stay shut altogether.
Aldi, Home Bargains and Homebase are also among the stores that will be closed today.Millions more are waking up to Tier 4 restrictions this morning In Tier 4 areas, household mixing is banned - and all non-essential shops must close
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