Christmas sales: Potteries Shopping Centre bargain hunters in 2.15am Boxing Day queue
ALMOST 1,000 shoppers queued outside a city centre store from 2.15am so they could bag bargains as the Boxing Day sales got underway.
Next was the first big chain to open its doors at the Potteries Shopping Centre, in Hanley, yesterday.
It was followed by Debenhams at 7am and River Island at 8am. And by 9am, sales fever had hit most of the stores inside the shopping centre.
Centre general manager Paul Francis said Boxing Day was a resounding success.
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He added: "It was manic. The first customer arrived at 2.15am. Boxing Day now has become a very strong shopping day. It is well established."
Many stores reported having large queues of people waiting outside for them to open.
But there were also significant numbers of shoppers choosing to buy online instead.
Jackie Tidd, store manager at Topshop, said: "It was busy first thing, but it has been much quieter than last year. I think a lot of people do their shopping online now."
Donna Bailey, manager of Dorothy Perkins, in Hanley, added: "Boxing Day isn't the same as it used to be, but I know that it will be busy on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
"A lot of people need buses to get into town, so they will be here in the next few days.
"We do take good money, but it's not the same. The internet does take loads of customers away from us."
Although it has been quieter, Donna said that Christmas has been good for the store and they were still on target for this time of year.
"I know from the past few years that the next few days turn out to be bigger shopping days," she said.
Emma Cotton, store manager at Next, arrived at the store ready to open at 6am yesterday and was greeted by 952 people.
The queues could be seen all the way from the entrance of the shop, right past Debenhams.
She said: "We let in about 500 to begin with. Everyone was in really good spirits.
"Last year, we had a bit of trouble with wives running in and husbands lagging behind, which caused arguments. But it was really good this year.
"We have done really well. I don't think that we have been affected by the internet, as people want to come and look at our stuff and get a bargain."
Elsewhere in North Staffordshire and South Cheshire, shop staff were also reporting a much-needed boost in takings.
Helen Anderton, manager of Freeport Talke, said: "We had shoppers queuing outside some of the shops ready for the sales. Overall, it has been quite a busy, steady day of trade for us."