Bargain sales prices could last year

Post-Christmas discounts could last well into 2009

Sales shoppers hunting out bargain basement prices could see discount deals for the next year, according to predictions.

The post-Christmas sales saw a record start with more stores than ever opening on Boxing Day, prompting a 12.5% rise in the number of shoppers hitting the high street on last year’s figures.

And there were no signs of shopping fatigue when the same figures emerged on Saturday as Marks & Spencer and Next launched their end of year sales.

John Lewis reported a whopping £21.3million till tally on Saturday, an increase of 7% on last year’s takings and shopping madness was witnessed across the country as bargain hunters queued outside retail havens for hours – some from 3am – desperate to snap up a deal.

Managing director Andy Street said: ‘This is a remarkable result at any time and particularly so in this challenging economic climate. John Lewis customers are being judicious in their purchasing.’

In London, some sales hunters waited for nine hours outside Harrods in Knightsbridge, in a bid to dig out designer discounts. Meanwhile, queues of up to 1,000 people stretched outside some Next outlets.

However, despite the 70% discounts in many stores, the British Retail Consortium said most shoppers were being cautious with their pennies.

Spokesman Richard Dodd said stores would be forced to maintain their slashed prices to entice people to spend.

‘There’s no indication that fundamentals are going to change so customers will go on being reluctant to spend and retailers will have to go on offering big discounts and promotions in order to tempt them in,’ said Dodd.

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