Retailers said they saw the highest ever numbers for the Christmas sales as a lull in the freezing temperatures brought shoppers out in their masses. This followed a worry start on Boxing Day when the anticipated numbers failed to materialise.
With a VAT rise imminent, shops slashed up to 75 per cent off goods as bargain hunters spent some £6million a minute.
Robert Hall, director of thecentre:mk shopping centre in Milton Keynes, said 32,000 people had crammed into the complex – and had started queueing in the early hours.
He said: “The centre has recorded a 1.4 per cent footfall increase on Christmas week, in spite of the negative impact of the recent adverse weather conditions. People had started to queue at the centre from 2.30am.”
Half of Britain’s 61million population are expected to shop in the sales before the 2.5 per cent hike in VAT to 20 per cent takes effect from January 4.