Boxing Day sales begin

26-12-2007

Boxing Day sales begin
Shoppers are flocking to high street stores across the country today as they seek to take advantage of the start of Boxing Day sales.

Crowds of bargain hunters flocked to Central London's Oxford Street this morning with some queuing outside stores since dawn in order to be the first inside the stores.

Half-a-million shoppers reportedly hit London's West End looking to take advantage of 70 per cent discounts in stores like Debenhams and House of Fraser. Selfridges on Oxford Street said it expects to have served up to 120,000 customers by 9pm tonight.

But planning ahead to secure the best deals has also seen shoppers log on to the internet over the past few days to buy goods. High-street retailers have reported 3.6 million people went online and spent a record £52 million – on Christmas day alone.

However, the British Retail Consortium has warned retailers that they could struggle to make a profit despite an expected increase in Christmas sales.

But Kevin Hawkins, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said the need for bigger sales to attract more customers will not always benefit retailers.

"It's not inconsistent to have retailers whose profits are falling and yet their sales are going up - that's one of the problems of discounting.

"You offer big discounts to get your goods sold through, because you don't want a lot of seasonal stock left over, but at the same time it's not doing your margins any good - they might be falling," he said

Mr Hawkins added that some retailers would also be looking to getting rid of their unsold seasonal stock by marking down prices.

Elsewhere in the UK, thousands of people are reported to have engaged in traditional Boxing Day hunts.

The use of dogs to kill foxes during hunts was banned two years ago under the Hunting Act. Hunters in favour of the ban's repeal are expected to come out in large numbers today to demonstrate their opposition to the legislation.

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