SAVVY South Yorkshire shoppers queued up in the early hours to get their hands on the pick of the sales.
Stores including Next and Debenhams opened branches at Meadowhall and in Sheffield city centre as early as 6am yesterday, Boxing Day.
There were queues outside Next at Meadowhall from 2.30am.
An estimated 150,000 shoppers then flocked to the shopping centre for their busiest Boxing Day on record.
Overspill car parking facilities were called into use shortly after 10am to accommodate shoppers who had already filled the onsite car parking spaces
Many other stores were open yesterday – although John Lewis and Atkinson’s were not opening until today.
Retailers are offering large discounts with many items at half price or less.
Steve Ormerod, store manager at Meadowhall’s Next branch, said: “We’ve been very busy and the level of sales compares favourably with last Boxing Day.
“Our best-selling items have been children’s wear.”
Among the early risers in Sheffield city centre yesterday were couples Manu and Shiva Singhal, of Ecclesall Road, and their friends Vikrant and Priyanka Agarwal, who were out on Fargate.
Clutching bulging bags from Next and Marks & Spencer, software engineer Manu said: “We’re buying presents to take back to family and friends in India.
Across the road, a small queue had formed outside the Lush cosmetics store.
At the front was Liz Marriott, from Beighton.
She said: “Although I think it would be better if Christmas was allowed to last a bit longer and shops stayed shut on Boxing Day, I’ve come along because it’s the only time Lush have a sale.
“I come on the first day of the sale every year.”
Meanwhile, Sue Hinde, of Southey Green, was stocking up in Boots on presents for next Christmas - even wrapping paper.
She said: “I came in by taxi first thing because I want to save money and get gifts in for next year. There’s bargains to be had and I didn’t want to miss them.”
Meadowhall said that it was ‘very busy’ yesterday.
All the centre’s stores were open yesterday, between 9am and 6pm, with Next and Debenhams opening at 6am.
Atkinson’s said it was offering up to 70 per cent off in its sale, which begins today at 9am.
Nationally, experts predict shoppers will spend almost £3 billion on Boxing Day alone - including £500 million online.
Retailers at the Frenchgate Centre in Doncaster were doing a brisk trade and the mall was open from 10am until 4pm.