BARGAIN-hunters were up bright and early on Boxing Day to hit the sales.
Queues formed after 5am at The Bridges for the Next sale, which started at 6am.
Andy Bradley, centre director at The Bridges, said: “The Boxing Day sales have got off to a flying start this year, with hundreds of shoppers queuing from the early hours of the morning to be the first into the Next sale, which started at 6am.
“Retailers have all benefited from this early rush, with River Island and Lush proving to be particularly popular.”
The rush was expected to continue today.
Andy added: “Bargain hunters are continuing to arrive in their droves and we fully expect today to be just as busy as shoppers take full advantage of clearance sales.”
Dalton Park in Murton, which offered up to a 70 per cent discount on brands, benefited from the clear weather yesterday.
Jerry Hatch, general manager at the outlet, said: “It’s early days, but so far, so good. We had a record Boxing Day last year and, judging by the cars in the car park so far, we’re just a nudge ahead of that.
“It’s a lovely, crisp, sunny day which helps for outdoor shopping centres. It’ll be a different story if there’s gales tomorrow.”
He added: “It’s certainly tough out there but we’re confident that our product, offers, new openings and seasonal events will ensure final quarter four results will be strong. We’re also looking forward to an exciting 2014 with the start of our phase two leisure development which will significantly enhance our retail offer.”
In Washington, The Galleries also saw queues forming ahead of the doors opening.
Galleries centre manager David McNee said: “Trade’s been ok, but nothing too manic. It’s about the same as the crowds we had last year. There were some queues first thing this morning, mostly at Boots and the games stores.
“Overall, it’s been a good Christmas for The Galleries, we’ve had strong footfall and this year we’ve been refurbished and rebranded so it’s the start of us going forward into 2014.”