Wearside shoppers buck the Black Friday trend

Dalton Park's Shopping Angels have been offering shoppers a Black Friday helping hand.
Dalton Park's Shopping Angels have been offering shoppers a Black Friday helping hand.
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Black Friday got off to a slow start but turned out to be a bumper day for Wearside and East Durham.

Nationwide, there was little sign of any repeat of last year's frenzied scenes, with shoppers apparently shunning the High Street in favour of the Internet, and today on its way to becoming the biggest on-line shopping day in UK history.

On-line retailers reported record-breaking sales from the first few hours of the bonanza, making it likely that on-line sales will surpass £1 billion in one day.

But North East bargain hunters seem to prefer doing things the old-fashioned way.

Both The Bridges in Sunderland and Murton's Dalton Park reported bumper crowds.

Bridges Retail Liaison Manager John Green said the numbers through the doors had increased steadily as the day went on.

"A small number of our stores opened at 7am with the majority opening earlier than their normal time of 9am," he said.

"It did start slowly but from 9.30am onwards it has just grown and grown. It is by far our busiest trading day of the year and the malls are absolutely packed.

"The car parks are full with people waiting for a car to leave so they can get in. Black Friday is definitely not a damp squib here.

"It has been a fantastic day."

Dalton Park marketing manager Louise Thompson said some stores had opened early to cope with demand.

"Visitor numbers registered at 2pm puts us at 19.4% ahead of last year which is a fabulous result," she said.

"Shoppers were arriving before the centre opening at 10am so some stores were able to open early for them.

"We have our Shopping Angels at our central entrance, handing out free Dalton Park shopping bags and pointing shoppers in the direction of all the best deals.

"Our visitors have given us great feedback about this, as it has meant their experience has been a little easier than they expected.

"Our facilities team have also been on hand in our car park to guide visitors to empty spaces which has also helped.

"Many retailers are extending the offers across the weekend so we can look forward to more festive bargain hunting."