BOXING Day bargain hunters cashed in on the sales in record numbers at Meadowhall with bosses estimating 150,000 customers by the end of the day, writes Graham Walker.
Some shoppers didn’t even go to bed - they were queuing to get in from 2.30am and the first shop to open, in keeping with tradition, was Next, at 6am.
Debenhams, House of Fraser and Marks & Spencer followed and enticed early shoppers by lifting their shutters at 7am.
Those at the front of the queue were taking advantage of up to 75% off at a wide range of retailers across the centre
Luxury items at the top of many lists including leather handbags, designer clothes and accessories, perfume sets, shoes and electronics have been among some of their best selling items in the first few hours of Boxing Day trading. Beauty products such as lipsticks, false eyelashes and high heel cushioned pads, ahead of New Year’s Eve party celebrations, were also popular.
So were health supplements, gym wear and sporting equipment, given a boost by shoppers eager to make a prompt start to their January health kick.
Overspill car parking facilities were called into use shortly after 10am to accommodate shoppers who had already filled over 9,500 free onsite car parking spaces - with thousands more taking arriving from across the region via tram and train to beat the traffic.
It is is expected to be the centre’s busiest Boxing Day on record.
Darren Pearce, Meadowhall Centre Director, said: “Boxing Day has always been one of the most talked about shopping days of the year and this year has been no exception, with a record number of shoppers seeking to get their hands on the best post-Christmas bargains.
“Our increasing portfolio of high end brands and retailers, and the success of our newly refurbished Oasis Dining Quarter has had a significant impact on footfall this year, catapulting the Centre to new heights.
“This year indications show that approximately 150,000 shoppers will have visited Meadowhall today, with an estimated 750,000 in total for the first week of the Christmas sales - another first for the Meadowhall history books.”
Meadowhall attracted a total of 25 new lettings to the Centre in 2012, including Urban Outfitters, Cath Kidston, Lego, Carluccios, Giraffe, Chao Baby and Internacionale, as well as big name brands such as Bumble & Bumble, SmashBox, Crème de la Mer, Liz Earle and an extended concession at MAC.
The surge of new lettings over the past year has dictated one of the lowest empty unit rates across the country.