BOXING Day sale shoppers began queuing at 5am this morning after the Christmas Day festivities.
Bargain hunters braved chilly temperatures waiting for shops to open at 6am, as Brits are expected to splash £4 billion today.
In North Tyneside, more than 3,000 shoppers queued up around the Silverlink Retail Park and in Cardiff others were waiting for the Next Boxing Day sale to start.
Eager Brits were later seen leaving shops with their impressive hauls of clothes and accessories.
Pals Hollie, 50, and Julie, 51, started to queue at 5.45am this morning outside a Next in Liverpool.
They said about 160 people were already ahead of them before the shop opened at 6am.
Hollie said: “We come every year, it’s like a tradition, but we have been buying less as years go by because we’re trying not to consume as much for environmental reasons.
“My children used to get piles of stuff for Christmas but now we try and limit it to three or four presents.”
The pair had bought gifts for family members and homeware in the sales.
Sian, 30, from Bootle in Merseyside, arrived outside Lush in Liverpool at 6.30am, three-and-a-half hours before it was due to open.
She said: “It’s 50% off all the Christmas gift sets so I’ll spend about £200 and get about £400 worth of stuff.
“I get here at 6.30am every year and normally the shop doesn’t open until 11am. I’ve layered up, so I’m not too cold!”
She said she expected the Lush shop to be “mayhem” once it opened.
Today’s shop is expected to be eight per cent down on last year — even though 25million shoppers will still spend £4.4billion, the Centre For Retail Research says.
The first year-on-year December 26 spending fall since 2012 is being blamed on Black Friday discounts.
But today will still be the third-biggest UK shopping day in history.
It will also be more than double Panic Saturday’s £1.7bn before Christmas Day, and almost double Black Friday’s £2.5bn.
Security guards were on duty all night for queues, with in-store staff at work as early as 3am.
The Centre’s Professor Joshua Bamfield said much of the cash will be spent online.
He added: “People will check what’s in stores then look for deals online instead.”
Boxing Day shoppers are also likely to be put off by a wave of wet weather that will bring downpours to high street across the UK.
One woman leaves the store with a clear bag full of clothes from today’s Boxing Day sales in Cardiff