Shopping centers saw a 22 percent rise in the
number of bargain-hunters coming through their doors, while high
street stores saw 3.4 percent more shoppers as of 10am, the data
Some stores opened as early as 6am in London's main shopping
district in the West End and Oxford Street, where over a million
people are expected to turn out according to retailers.
Many shops started Britain's traditional "January sales" online
on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day as British shoppers
increasingly demand earlier and deeper discounting.
Britain's economy has been growing robustly and unemployment has
fallen steadily but many Britons still face a squeeze in living
standards due to stagnating wages and rising utility bills.
Department store John Lewis <JLP.UL> reported record sales for
the week before Christmas on Thursday and said that for the
first time it expected the majority of British shoppers to use
smartphones rather than desktop computers to make online
It said its sales in the week to December 21 were up 4.2 percent
on last year at 164.4 million pounds ($270 million), surpassing
the 160 million-pound mark for the first time.
The department store will release its five-week trading update
on January 2.
The retailer also said that on Christmas day, three in four
shoppers used their smartphones or tablets rather than
traditional desktops to shop on their site, marking a shift from
"The tipping point has now passed and we expect mobile to be the
way the majority of people shop online from now on," said Mark
Lewis, online director at John Lewis.
(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing
by Hugh Lawson)
[© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2013 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.