KEEN shoppers were queuing from just after midnight to get their hands on some Boxing Day bargains.
Queues started outside Next stores in Portsmouth, Whiteley, Fareham and Havant from the early hours as the stores opened at 6am with all items in its sale half price or even less.
Thousands of shoppers descended on shopping centres, retail parks and high streets across the region.
Colin Wilding, general manager at Gunwharf Quays, said: ‘Boxing Day is a shopping experience many of our customers look forward to and this year has been no different.
‘We welcomed thousands of visitors, all keen to make the most of the additional discounts.
‘With the festive season coming to a close, many shoppers are already looking forward to achieving those New Year resolutions.
‘Our sportswear brands always prove to be incredibly popular on Boxing Day, and this year is no exception with Nike, Under Armour and Adidas all performing extremely well.’
Despite some online calls for stores to close on Boxing Day, demand in Portsmouth was higher than ever as shoppers came out in their droves.
Cascades Shopping Centre saw a surge in web traffic and social media engagement in the run-up to the day with eager shoppers checking out opening times so they could be at the centre early.
Cascades centre director, Rhoda Joseph, said: ‘Last year Boxing Day was one of our busiest trading days and this year was even busier.
‘The queue for Next started around midnight with shoppers ensuring they were ready when the doors opened at 6am. Shoppers were ready to spend their Christmas money and gift vouchers.
‘There was a great atmosphere in the centre with shoppers enjoying discounts and a great day out.’
Neil Carter, manager of Whiteley Shopping centre, said that queues started at 4am, with Next and Pandora proving particularly popular.
He said that many were also making the most of the nine-screen multiplex to catch the latest movies, including the new Star Wars film, Rogue One.
He said: ‘Boxing Day saw a strong start to the sales at Whiteley, with footfall at the same level as last year and much better than other shopping centres.
‘We are expecting this week to be very busy with many customers collecting items purchased online over the last few days, and many others enjoying a film and meal with their families at our leisure extension.’