Source: AFP | 2012-12-27 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
Shoppers beg sales assistants for perfume products at Selfridges on the morning of the Boxing Day sales in London yesterday. Despite the transport problems, shoppers formed long queues from the early hours of the morning outside London's top department stores.
Photo by Reuters
STRIKE action heavily disrupted London's Underground train network yesterday, as hundreds of thousands of bargain hunters headed to the shops for the traditional Boxing Day sales.
All 13 of the Tube lines were running a reduced service after just a third of drivers turned up for work in a dispute between the Aslef union and the network operators over payments for working on national holidays.
Despite the transport problems, shoppers formed long queues from the early hours of the morning outside London's top department stores, including Harrods and Selfridges.
Many of the bargain hunters were Chinese, with Harrods creating a separate queue outside its store in the upmarket district of Knightsbridge for those looking for reductions on designer goods such as Gucci.
Sue West, director of operations at Selfridges, said handbags and menswear were particularly popular items in the sale at its flagship branch on London's main shopping thoroughfare of Oxford Street.
"Of the people queuing to get inside 60 percent or 70 percent were men. It's a great day for men's shopping. It's a tradition and people want to experience it," West said.
"Online sales for us have been great but year on year people still want to experience the Boxing Day sales."
British retailers slash prices on the day after Christmas Day, with TVs and computers carrying the biggest reductions.
The price comparison site MoneySupermarket.com estimates that shoppers in Britain will spend 2.9 billion pounds (US$4.7 billion) in the sales.
The British Retail Consortium had called the spending as "acceptable but not exceptional."