Preston shoppers brave cold and rain to grab Boxing Day bargains

Shoppers in Preston have braved the cold and drizzle to grab themselves some Boxing Day bargains.
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Retailers in Preston appeared to be busy with bargain hunters who had hit the high street for Boxing Day sales this morning (December 26).

Fishergate car park was nearly full by 11am, with families braving the damp weather and eager to splash their Christmas cash.

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Despite a grey sky lurking over the city, shoppers buzzed around Fishergate and squeezed into crowded shops promoting some of the year's biggest sales.

Next, JD Sports, TK Maxx and Pandora appeared particularly popular with Boxing Day shoppers, with some retailers offering discounts of up to 60 per cent off.

Steve Green, 56, a security officer at St George's Shopping Centre, said people had been queuing outside the centre before its doors opened at 9am.

"When I opened the doors this morning, there were a good few people already huddled outside the Fishergate entrance", said Steve.

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"But across the road at Next, people had been camping outside since 4am.

"You'd think they were homeless, the way they were all sat down on the pavement in the dark, but they were just waiting for the doors to open.

"But apart from a few dedicated shoppers, it was a relatively quiet start to the day.

"It's picking up now and I think more people will come into town to do some shopping later on. They're probably having a bit of a lie-in this morning.

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"But the weather isn't helping much. If it starts to pour down, I think people will probably decide to just stay at home and maybe see what they can find online.

"I've been doing this job for 8 years now and it's definitely a bit quieter this year."

But some shoppers welcomed the quieter scenes in the shopping centre.

"I quite like it a bit quieter to be honest", said Marie Hall, 66, from Ashton.

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"I don't really like the crowds, but I wanted to get out of the house today after being stuck inside all day yesterday.

"I was actually dreading it being busy, but today has been fine.

"There's still plenty of people around but there's not the same queues as there once was. You can go right up to the till and get served.

"That might not be a good sign for the shops, but it makes it a lot easier for me and my husband, who hates shopping at the best of times."

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The relatively high footfall in the city centre will have been a reassuring sight to Preston's retailers after a quiet Christmas Eve for many UK high streets.

According to the latest figures, there had been a decline in footfall by nearly 10 per cent on the final shopping day before Christmas, compared to the same day in in 2018.

Books and stationery stores were the only sector to experience year-on-year growth, with footfall up by 6.9 per cent.

The so-called "Super Saturday" - the last Saturday before Christmas Day - also saw footfall drop by 6.2 per cent on 2018.