Shoppers start queuing at 4AM for Boxing Day sales

Shoppers start queuing at 4AM for Boxing Day sales but new Tier 4 restrictions mean millions can’t go to High Streets with amount spent expected to plummet by 26% on last year despite £1.8billion online spree

  • Britons were spotted lining up outside Next stores in Liverpool, Birmingham and North Tyneside this morning
  • But sales at shops are predicted to plunge by 56 per cent to £1.4billion, despite estimated rise in online sales
  • It comes as millions move into Tier 4 today, meaning that all non-essential shops and businesses must close

Shoppers started queuing at 4am today for the Boxing Day sales but the amount spent is expected to plummet by 26 per cent on last year despite a £1.8billion spending splurge online.

Britons were spotted lining up outside Next stores in Liverpool, Birmingham and North Tyneside as they hunted for bargains at the retail giant.

But sales at shops are still predicted to plunge by 56 per cent to £1.4billion, according to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) and VoucherCodes.co.uk.  

It comes as millions of people move into Tier 4 today, meaning that they will not be able to visit stores in person as all non-essential shops and businesses must close.

Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire will move 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, will also move into the toughest tier.

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 queue outside a Next store as they hunt for bargains during the Boxing Day sales in central Liverpool

Shoppers queued from 4am to take advantage of retail giant Next’s Boxing Day sales at Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham this morning

The additional six million going 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. 

Trade is forecast to drop by 26 per cent to £3.2billion, falling for the third year in a row despite the rise in online sales. 

Anna Naik, VoucherCodes.co.uk’s lifestyle editor, told The Times: ‘The post-Christmas sales are always one of the busiest times for retailers.

‘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.’ 

Barclaycard Payments’ Rob Cameron added: ‘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.’ 

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. 

Shoppers are seen entering a Next store during the Boxing Day sales in central Liverpool this 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 this 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. The additional six million going into Tier 4 takes the total number of people under the toughest restrictions to 24million

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.

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 this morning as they hunt for bargains during the Boxing Day sales

Meanwhile, Nottingham saw a very quiet Boxing Day sales this morning with streets largely empty in the city

A shopper pictured in Nottingham this morning, during a very quiet Boxing Day sale. It follows England recording 32,725 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours

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.

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.

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