Britons spend ‘million pounds a minute’ in Christmas sales

December 26th, 2008 - 9:01 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 26 (IANS) Britons Friday thronged high streets and shopping malls across a nation facing a recession in what commentators said was the busiest Boxing Day sales in living memory.Shoppers began queuing up for bargains at 5 a.m. as major stores slashed prices by up to 90 percent, making light of predictions by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) that the British economy could shrink by more than 2.5 percent next year - the biggest slump since 1946.

According to one newspaper, sales were expected to touch an astonishing one million pounds a minute Friday.

Bargain hunters were given an earlier-than-usual start on Christmas Day Thursday when retailers began sales on the internet, attracting perhaps more than five million people, retail experts said.

Internet retail group IMRG estimates e-shoppers will have splurged 103.6 million pounds, up from the 84 million pounds spent last year. It estimated 5.24 million people to have shopped via the internet Thursday - outnumbering the 4.5 million people who went to church.

London’s glamorous Oxford Street shopping district was expecting some half a million shoppers Friday.

With the country facing an economic downturn, stores this year have offered Christmas sales much earlier than in previous years, with one retailer, Debenhams, slashing its prices by up to 70 percent in what it called its biggest-ever sale.

Electronic goods such as large-screen TVs and laptops, followed by high-end washing machines, were proving popular with initial sales figures up on last year.

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