Shoppers start queuing at 4AM for Boxing Day sales but Tier 4 restrictions mean millions can’t go

Shoppers started queuing at 4am today for the Boxing Day sales but the amount spent is expected to plummet by 26 per cent on last year despite a £1.8billion spending splurge online.

Britons were spotted lining up outside Next stores in Liverpool, Birmingham and North Tyneside as they hunted for bargains at the retail giant.

Around 200 people had formed a socially-distanced queue by 5.50am outside Next in Leicester, which is under Tier 3 restrictions. 

But sales at shops are still predicted to plunge by 56 per cent to £1.4billion, according to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) and VoucherCodes.co.uk. 

Footfall for shopping is down 57 per cent in the UK up to 10am compared with last year, largely due to shops being closed in areas under Tier 4 restrictions, figures from retail intelligence agency Springboard have shown. 

Meanwhile, a survey has found that shoppers are planning to spend £162 on average online in the post-Christmas sales, with clothes and shoes topping wish-lists, followed by food and drink, homeware and stationery.

It comes as millions of people move into Tier 4 today, meaning they will not be able to visit stores in person as all non-essential shops and businesses must close.

Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire will move into Tier 4, created in response to a variant of Covid-19 discovered in the UK, from Saturday.

The parts of Essex still in Tier 2, Waverley in Surrey and Hampshire including Portsmouth and Southampton, but with the exception of the New Forest, will also move into the toughest tier.

Shoppers in Liverpool city centre laden with bags this morning as they take advantage of the Boxing Day sales. Six in 10 (61 per cent) people said they would not consider shopping with a retailer unless they have a sale on, according to a survey

Shoppers in Liverpool city centre laden with bags this morning as they take advantage of the Boxing Day sales. Six in 10 (61 per cent) people said they would not consider shopping with a retailer unless they have a sale on, according to a survey

Shoppers in Liverpool city centre laden with bags this morning as they take advantage of the Boxing Day sales. Six in 10 (61 per cent) people said they would not consider shopping with a retailer unless they have a sale on, according to a survey

Shoppers queue outside a Next store as they hunt for bargains during the Boxing Day sales in central Liverpool. A survey has found that shoppers are planning to spend £162 on average online in the post-Christmas sales

Shoppers queue outside a Next store as they hunt for bargains during the Boxing Day sales in central Liverpool. A survey has found that shoppers are planning to spend £162 on average online in the post-Christmas sales

Shoppers queue outside a Next store as they hunt for bargains during the Boxing Day sales in central Liverpool. A survey has found that shoppers are planning to spend £162 on average online in the post-Christmas sales

Shoppers queued from 4am to take advantage of retail giant Next's Boxing Day sales at Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham this morning. Footfall for shopping is down 57 per cent in the UK up to 10am compared with last year

Shoppers queued from 4am to take advantage of retail giant Next's Boxing Day sales at Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham this morning. Footfall for shopping is down 57 per cent in the UK up to 10am compared with last year

Shoppers queued from 4am to take advantage of retail giant Next’s Boxing Day sales at Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham this morning. Footfall for shopping is down 57 per cent in the UK up to 10am compared with last year

The additional six million going into Tier 4 takes the total number of people under the toughest restrictions to 24million – 43 per cent of England’s population. A further 24.8million will be in Tier 3. 

Trade is forecast to drop by 26 per cent to £3.2billion, falling for the third year in a row despite the rise in online sales. 

Anna Naik, VoucherCodes.co.uk’s lifestyle editor, told The Times: ‘The post-Christmas sales are always one of the busiest times for retailers.

‘And while this is still the case, it’s not surprising to see a decline in sales for the third year in a row, especially due to the new restrictions in place for most of the country.’ 

Boxing Day spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with last year, as part of a downward trend in recent years and due to the impact of coronavirus restrictions.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, commented: ‘It’s not going to be normal in the slightest. That’s really because much of the country is under Tier 4 restrictions, which is going to severely impact Boxing Day sales and push people online.

‘But there’s a bit of comfort buying coming into play, because people can’t go out, which is good for retailers. The problem is, for the majority of retailers, the sales they get online are much smaller than what they get in-store.’

Boxing Day sales have declined over the past decade, and when asked if it is still an important trading day, Ms Wehrle added: ‘Boxing Day has become a different trading day in recent years – town centres 30 to 40 years ago were predominantly retail, whereas more recently there has been a boom in leisure and dining. 

The car park at Rushden Lakes Shopping Centre in Northamptonshire filling up on Boxing Day morning as the sales start in the shops. The Shopping Centre in Rushden is in Tier 3 but is only a mile from the Bedfordshire border, which is in Tier 4

The car park at Rushden Lakes Shopping Centre in Northamptonshire filling up on Boxing Day morning as the sales start in the shops. The Shopping Centre in Rushden is in Tier 3 but is only a mile from the Bedfordshire border, which is in Tier 4

The car park at Rushden Lakes Shopping Centre in Northamptonshire filling up on Boxing Day morning as the sales start in the shops. The Shopping Centre in Rushden is in Tier 3 but is only a mile from the Bedfordshire border, which is in Tier 4

The car park at Rushden Lakes Shopping Centre in Northamptonshire pictured on Boxing Day morning, as it fills up with shoppers

The car park at Rushden Lakes Shopping Centre in Northamptonshire pictured on Boxing Day morning, as it fills up with shoppers

The car park at Rushden Lakes Shopping Centre in Northamptonshire pictured on Boxing Day morning, as it fills up with shoppers 

Nottingham High Street begins to fill up with shoppers during the Boxing Day sales today, after appearing largely empty early this morning

Nottingham High Street begins to fill up with shoppers during the Boxing Day sales today, after appearing largely empty early this morning

Nottingham High Street begins to fill up with shoppers during the Boxing Day sales today, after appearing largely empty early this morning

Shoppers wearing face masks begin to fill Nottingham High Street today. Boxing Day spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with last year

Shoppers wearing face masks begin to fill Nottingham High Street today. Boxing Day spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with last year

Shoppers wearing face masks begin to fill Nottingham High Street today. Boxing Day spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with last year

Women wearing face masks walk past a shop window advertising discounts in Bournemouth during the Boxing Day sales

Women wearing face masks walk past a shop window advertising discounts in Bournemouth during the Boxing Day sales

Women wearing face masks walk past a shop window advertising discounts in Bournemouth during the Boxing Day sales

Shoppers on Commercial Road in Bournemouth carrying shopping bags during the Boxing Day sales. Bournemouth is currently under Tier 2 restrictions

Shoppers on Commercial Road in Bournemouth carrying shopping bags during the Boxing Day sales. Bournemouth is currently under Tier 2 restrictions

Shoppers on Commercial Road in Bournemouth carrying shopping bags during the Boxing Day sales. Bournemouth is currently under Tier 2 restrictions

A woman carrying Primark and River Island shopping bags leaves a store in Bournemouth during the Boxing Day sales

A woman carrying Primark and River Island shopping bags leaves a store in Bournemouth during the Boxing Day sales

A woman carrying Primark and River Island shopping bags leaves a store in Bournemouth during the Boxing Day sales

Shoppers on Commercial Road in Bournemouth during the sales today. Boxing Day spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with a year ago

Shoppers on Commercial Road in Bournemouth during the sales today. Boxing Day spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with a year ago

Shoppers on Commercial Road in Bournemouth during the sales today. Boxing Day spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with a year ago

Two women walk past a shop window advertising half-price discounts in Bournemouth during the Boxing Day sales

Two women walk past a shop window advertising half-price discounts in Bournemouth during the Boxing Day sales

Two women walk past a shop window advertising half-price discounts in Bournemouth during the Boxing Day sales 

Two people carrying Primark shopping bags walk through Bournemouth during the Boxing Day sales on Saturday

Two people carrying Primark shopping bags walk through Bournemouth during the Boxing Day sales on Saturday

Two people carrying Primark shopping bags walk through Bournemouth during the Boxing Day sales on Saturday

‘So Boxing Day shopping has become an opportunity to go out and socialise – when shoppers do go out, they go later they make much more of a leisure day of it, so it’s still quite an important day in the calendar, and we expect more sales will come later in the day.’

Boxing Day sales shopping this year will largely need to be done online as stricter lockdown rules in many areas have forced high street stores to shut. 

Research from Barclaycard found a third (33 per cent) of people also plan to spend more in the post-Christmas sales than they did during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with the main reason being the belief that the post-Christmas deals are better.

The study found Boxing Day is the most popular day to start sales shopping, with more than a quarter (27 per cent) surveyed in early December looking to make purchases on this day, up slightly from 2019 (25 per cent).

A quarter (25 per cent) of sales shoppers will be looking for presents for themselves as they deserve a treat due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, while a similar proportion (24 per cent) will be treating friends and family more than usual, for the same reason. 

A thrifty 22 per cent are also taking advantage of the Christmas sales to buy last-minute presents for loved ones they will not be seeing over the festive season. 

The traditional 5am Boxing Day sale still attracted large numbers who were more closely managed in a socially-dtsanced queueing system outside the Next store in Silverlink Retail Park, North Tyneside

The traditional 5am Boxing Day sale still attracted large numbers who were more closely managed in a socially-dtsanced queueing system outside the Next store in Silverlink Retail Park, North Tyneside

The traditional 5am Boxing Day sale still attracted large numbers who were more closely managed in a socially-dtsanced queueing system outside the Next store in Silverlink Retail Park, North Tyneside

Shoppers are seen entering a Next store during the Boxing Day sales in central Liverpool this morning while wearing face masks and using a sanitising station

Shoppers are seen entering a Next store during the Boxing Day sales in central Liverpool this morning while wearing face masks and using a sanitising station

Shoppers are seen entering a Next store during the Boxing Day sales in central Liverpool this morning while wearing face masks and using a sanitising station

Shoppers are pictured queuing at Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham as they lined up from 4am to take advantage of the sales at retail giant Next

Shoppers are pictured queuing at Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham as they lined up from 4am to take advantage of the sales at retail giant Next

Shoppers are pictured queuing at Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham as they lined up from 4am to take advantage of the sales at retail giant Next

People seen queueing outside Next in Silverlink Retail Park, North Tyneside, as the traditional 5am Next Boxing Day sales still attracted large numbers this morning

People seen queueing outside Next in Silverlink Retail Park, North Tyneside, as the traditional 5am Next Boxing Day sales still attracted large numbers this morning

People seen queueing outside Next in Silverlink Retail Park, North Tyneside, as the traditional 5am Next Boxing Day sales still attracted large numbers this morning

Shoppers pictured queueing outside Next at the Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham. Trade is forecast to drop by 26 per cent to £3.2billion, falling for the third year in a row

Shoppers pictured queueing outside Next at the Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham. Trade is forecast to drop by 26 per cent to £3.2billion, falling for the third year in a row

Shoppers pictured queueing outside Next at the Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham. Trade is forecast to drop by 26 per cent to £3.2billion, falling for the third year in a row

Shoppers in Leicester during the Boxing Day sales. Spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with a year ago, after new Tier 4 restrictions forced non-essential retailers to close

Shoppers in Leicester during the Boxing Day sales. Spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with a year ago, after new Tier 4 restrictions forced non-essential retailers to close

Shoppers in Leicester during the Boxing Day sales. Spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with a year ago, after new Tier 4 restrictions forced non-essential retailers to close

Shoppers queue outside Next in Leicester during the Boxing Day sales. Research from Barclaycard found a third (33 per cent) of people also plan to spend more in the post-Christmas sales than they did during Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Shoppers queue outside Next in Leicester during the Boxing Day sales. Research from Barclaycard found a third (33 per cent) of people also plan to spend more in the post-Christmas sales than they did during Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Shoppers queue outside Next in Leicester during the Boxing Day sales. Research from Barclaycard found a third (33 per cent) of people also plan to spend more in the post-Christmas sales than they did during Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Shoppers lining up while wearing face masks outside a Next store in Leicester this morning. Boxing Day spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with a year ago

Shoppers lining up while wearing face masks outside a Next store in Leicester this morning. Boxing Day spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with a year ago

Shoppers lining up while wearing face masks outside a Next store in Leicester this morning. Boxing Day spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with a year ago

Two shoppers are seen queueing outside Next in Leicester during the Boxing Day sales. Many shoppers are also splurging online, as Covid-19 restrictions forced non-essential retailers to close

Two shoppers are seen queueing outside Next in Leicester during the Boxing Day sales. Many shoppers are also splurging online, as Covid-19 restrictions forced non-essential retailers to close

Two shoppers are seen queueing outside Next in Leicester during the Boxing Day sales. Many shoppers are also splurging online, as Covid-19 restrictions forced non-essential retailers to close

Shoppers pictured queueing outside Next in Leicester this morning. A thrifty 22 per cent are taking advantage of the Christmas sales to buy last-minute presents for loved ones they will not be seeing over the festive season

Shoppers pictured queueing outside Next in Leicester this morning. A thrifty 22 per cent are taking advantage of the Christmas sales to buy last-minute presents for loved ones they will not be seeing over the festive season

Shoppers pictured queueing outside Next in Leicester this morning. A thrifty 22 per cent are taking advantage of the Christmas sales to buy last-minute presents for loved ones they will not be seeing over the festive season

Six in 10 (61 per cent) people surveyed said they would not consider shopping with a retailer unless they have a sale on. 

A third (33 per cent) of people surveyed said money saved by not socialising in 2020 had helped them to finance Christmas, with 22 per cent expecting to spend more in the sales as a result.

But just over two-fifths (41 per cent) of those who had saved money had put it into savings.

Rob Cameron, chief executive of Barclaycard Payments, said: ‘The Boxing Day and post-Christmas sales are much-loved British traditions and, following a tough year, retailers will be encouraged to see that shoppers are feeling generous this festive season.’ 

More than 2,000 people were surveyed across the UK by Opinium on behalf of Barclaycard between December 1 and 3. 

Chris Daly, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, told MailOnline: ‘This is a Boxing Day like no other. With much of the country under the strictest coronavirus measures, retail footfall will be significantly lower than at any time in recent memory. 

Shoppers in Liverpool city centre laden with bags this morning as they take advantage of the Boxing Day sales

Shoppers in Liverpool city centre laden with bags this morning as they take advantage of the Boxing Day sales

Shoppers in Liverpool city centre laden with bags this morning as they take advantage of the Boxing Day sales

Three shoppers waiting outside a Lush store in Liverpool city centre this morning amid the Boxing Day sales. Bargain hunters were seen queuing as early as 4am

Three shoppers waiting outside a Lush store in Liverpool city centre this morning amid the Boxing Day sales. Bargain hunters were seen queuing as early as 4am

Three shoppers waiting outside a Lush store in Liverpool city centre this morning amid the Boxing Day sales. Bargain hunters were seen queuing as early as 4am 

People queue outside Primark this morning as shoppers hit the Boxing Day sales in Birmingham, which is under Tier 3 restrictions

People queue outside Primark this morning as shoppers hit the Boxing Day sales in Birmingham, which is under Tier 3 restrictions

People queue outside Primark this morning as shoppers hit the Boxing Day sales in Birmingham, which is under Tier 3 restrictions

Shoppers pictured carrying bags as they hit the Boxing Day sales in Birmingham, which is under Tier 3 restrictions, along with Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle

Shoppers pictured carrying bags as they hit the Boxing Day sales in Birmingham, which is under Tier 3 restrictions, along with Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle

Shoppers pictured carrying bags as they hit the Boxing Day sales in Birmingham, which is under Tier 3 restrictions, along with Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle

Shoppers queue outside a Next store as they hunt for bargains during the Boxing Day sales in central Liverpool

Shoppers queue outside a Next store as they hunt for bargains during the Boxing Day sales in central Liverpool

Shoppers queue outside a Next store as they hunt for bargains during the Boxing Day sales in central Liverpool

Shoppers queued from 4am as they hunted for bargains at retail giant Next at the Bullring Shopping Centre, Birmingham

Shoppers queued from 4am as they hunted for bargains at retail giant Next at the Bullring Shopping Centre, Birmingham

Shoppers queued from 4am as they hunted for bargains at retail giant Next at the Bullring Shopping Centre, Birmingham

Shoppers queue outside a Next store in central Liverpool early this morning as they hunt for bargains during the Boxing Day sales

Shoppers queue outside a Next store in central Liverpool early this morning as they hunt for bargains during the Boxing Day sales

Shoppers queue outside a Next store in central Liverpool early this morning as they hunt for bargains during the Boxing Day sales

‘The Prime Minister himself has told us to avoid the Boxing Day crowds and many people will heed this advice, as new Covid cases rise sharply.

‘Yet for some, retail therapy might be exactly the light relief needed. After muted Christmas celebrations, we could see an increase in people in lower tier areas hitting the shops as an unintended consequence of the new rules leaving many at a loose end, unable to see family and friends.’

He added: ‘But in truth this once unmissable event for the bargain hunter has been in decline for some time. Christmas marketing campaigns now run from Black Friday right through to the January sales, and there are discounts to be had right through this period. 

‘Meanwhile, as we enter a new year, we may see savvy shoppers choosing to hold back their spending and waiting for the inevitable clearance sales as more shops succumb to economic pressures.’

It follows England recording 32,725 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, according to the latest figures, as festive bubbles were cancelled for millions. 

Nationwide figures weren’t released yesterday as the devolved nations’ tallies aren’t counted on the Government dashboard over Christmas. 

In Tier 4, no household mixing is allowed, though one person can meet one other person outside in a public space, while all non-essential shops and businesses must close, including personal care and indoor entertainment.

Nobody can enter or leave Tier 4 areas and residents must not stay overnight away from home. 

Shoppers wait outside a Zara store in Nottingham this morning amid the Boxing Day sales. The city is still under Tier 3 restrictions

Shoppers wait outside a Zara store in Nottingham this morning amid the Boxing Day sales. The city is still under Tier 3 restrictions

Shoppers wait outside a Zara store in Nottingham this morning amid the Boxing Day sales. The city is still under Tier 3 restrictions

Shoppers make their way to Drake Circus shopping centre in Plymouth, Devon, on Boxing Day morning amid the Boxing Day sales

Shoppers make their way to Drake Circus shopping centre in Plymouth, Devon, on Boxing Day morning amid the Boxing Day sales

Shoppers make their way to Drake Circus shopping centre in Plymouth, Devon, on Boxing Day morning amid the Boxing Day sales

A quiet Plymouth city centre this morning. Sales at shops are predicted to plunge by 56 per cent to £1.4billion, according to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) and VoucherCodes.co.uk

A quiet Plymouth city centre this morning. Sales at shops are predicted to plunge by 56 per cent to £1.4billion, according to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) and VoucherCodes.co.uk

A quiet Plymouth city centre this morning. Sales at shops are predicted to plunge by 56 per cent to £1.4billion, according to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) and VoucherCodes.co.uk

Plymouth city centre on Boxing Day morning. A third (33 per cent) of people said money saved by not socialising in 2020 had helped them to finance Christmas, according to a survey

Plymouth city centre on Boxing Day morning. A third (33 per cent) of people said money saved by not socialising in 2020 had helped them to finance Christmas, according to a survey

Plymouth city centre on Boxing Day morning. A third (33 per cent) of people said money saved by not socialising in 2020 had helped them to finance Christmas, according to a survey

Meanwhile, Nottingham saw a very quiet Boxing Day sales this morning with streets largely empty in the city

Meanwhile, Nottingham saw a very quiet Boxing Day sales this morning with streets largely empty in the city

Meanwhile, Nottingham saw a very quiet Boxing Day sales this morning with streets largely empty in the city

A quiet Plymouth city centre on Boxing Day morning. Chris Daly, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, told MailOnline: 'This is a Boxing Day like no other'

A quiet Plymouth city centre on Boxing Day morning. Chris Daly, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, told MailOnline: 'This is a Boxing Day like no other'

A quiet Plymouth city centre on Boxing Day morning. Chris Daly, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, told MailOnline: ‘This is a Boxing Day like no other’

A shopper pictured in Nottingham this morning, during a very quiet Boxing Day sale. It follows England recording 32,725 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours

A shopper pictured in Nottingham this morning, during a very quiet Boxing Day sale. It follows England recording 32,725 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours

A shopper pictured in Nottingham this morning, during a very quiet Boxing Day sale. It follows England recording 32,725 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours

Two people pictured with Next bags while shopping during the Boxing Day sales in Nottingham, which was left largely empty

Two people pictured with Next bags while shopping during the Boxing Day sales in Nottingham, which was left largely empty

Two people pictured with Next bags while shopping during the Boxing Day sales in Nottingham, which was left largely empty

Meanwhile, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset including the North Somerset council area, Swindon, the Isle of Wight, the New Forest and Northamptonshire plus Cheshire and Warrington are moving up to Tier 3.

In the ‘very high’ alert level, no household mixing is allowed indoors or outdoors, except in parks and public gardens.

All hospitality is closed, except for takeaways and deliveries, and accommodation and entertainment venues must shut.

Cornwall and Herefordshire are moving up to Tier 2 from December 26, where the main restrictions are no household mixing allowed indoors, but the ‘rule of six’ applies outdoors.

Hospitality venues must close unless serving substantial meals with drinks, while large sport and entertainment events are allowed but with a very limited audience.

The Isles of Scilly, which has a population of just 2,000 people, will be the only area of England remaining in Tier 1.

In the lowest alert level, the ‘rule of six’ must apply indoors and outdoors, while there must be table service in hospitality venues, with last orders at 10pm and closing time at 11pm.

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