Hundreds of Boxing Day bargain hunters crammed into a shopping centre waiting for the doors of Next to open to signal the start of the retail giant’s annual sale.
The 500-strong queue began to form from around 3am at the store at the Eagles Meadow shopping centre in Wrexham as sale addicts waited patiently for the start of the sale at 6am.
Shoppers were given numbered tickets, which they handed in as they entered the store, to ensure the maximum number of people allowed on the premises at any one time wasn’t exceeded.
And those braving the cold and wind were grateful to staff of bakery shop Greggs who opened at 4am and served steaming hot coffee, tea and snacks to queuing masses.
First to turn up for the sale was Wrexham carer, Jade Jones, of Wrexham who arrived Eagles meadow well before 3am.
Jade was keen to stock up on clothes for her two sons who are aged one and five and says she can save so much money by buying clothes in bulk at the Boxing Day sale.
She said: “It’s definitely worth it without a shadow of a doubt. I will spend £300 and that will save me about £300. I but clothes for them now and summer clothes they will grow into. I also want some pyjamas for myself, I love Next pyjamas!
“It’s been cold queuing up but being first in means you get a good chance of getting the bargains you want.”
Wrexham County Borough Council HR worker, Siobhan Jones,of Gwersyllt, was thrilled to find Greggs open so she could buy hot coffee while she waited in the queue.
She said: “I’m so thankful, it’s really helped. I’m here with my boyfriend to be honest or I probably wouldn’t have got out of bed!”
Greggs manager Nerys Jones said: “We have been rushed off our feet to be honest. We arrived at 3am and it’s just got busier and busier. The peak was probably between 5am and 6am. It’s been well worth us opening.”
First out of the doors of Next clutching their bargains were friends Taylor Herbert, 21, and Hannah Keely, 20, of Coedpoeth.
Mechanical engineer Taylor said: “I wanted some home ware stuff but ended up buying some skirts too. I probably spent more than I planned but they are bargains.”
Retail worker Hannah said: “I didn’t want too much but it’s quite a good experience just seeing the number of people here bargain hunting.”
Sarah Saunders, 27, of Wrexham, was after clothes for her two boys, aged eight weeks and two and says she saved a small fortune by buying children’s clothes in the sale.
She said: “It’s a massive saving I’ve spent around £200 but saved more than £100. I’ve shopped for clothes for my children that will last them all year.”
IT specialist Chris Jess and his wife, Hayley Jess went to the Next sale to stock up on clothes for their daughter, Mabel, who was three the day before on Christmas Day.
Hayley said: “There are big savings to be had and the quality of clothes is fantastic. It’s definitely been worth our while. We got here at 5.50am and the queue was really long but we got what we wanted.”
Grandmother Faye Holmes, of New Broughton, says she made massive savings buying clothes for her three-year-old grandson, Ollie.
She said: “I’m just helping my daughter, Emma, out. I’ve bought clothes that will last Ollie right through the year. It’s definitely worth it.”
Zoe Edwards, a child care worker from Llay went along to the Next sale with her daughter, Skye, 10 and says she too made big savings on clothes for Skye and her baby sister Faith, five months.
She said: “It’s been worth getting up early as we have made some big savings and got some lovely clothes. I’m really pleased.”
Going to the Boxing Day sales was a treat for eight-year-old Darcy Griffiths of Weston Rhyn who went along with her mum, Emma Kilvert and aunt, Lynsey Kilvert, of Oswestry.
Darcy said: “I was excited and wanted to get up early and come with my mum and auntie. I’ve got clothes and a new duvet cover. We have also bought clothes for my sister, Mollie who is six and my brother Morgan who is three.
“I really enjoyed coming to the sales, it was very exciting but now I’m going home and I’m going back to bed.”
Eagles Meadow manager Kevin Critchley said: “We always look forward to the Next sale, and at this time of the year it’s become something of a national event.
“There’s a lot of people who gave up a Boxing Day lie-in to make sure they don’t miss-out on the massive reductions in Next and a lot of our other shops.
“I just hope people remember that there is only limited stock left on the racks – when it’s gone, it’s gone.
“There’s a real buzz around the centre and a lot of super offers and smiling faces – everyone loves a bargain don’t they?
“My advice would be to take it easy and don’t rush – there’s plenty of restaurants and cafes at the Centre and you can find whatever you need from a quick coffee and cake to a full three-course meal.
“You can even relax by having a game or two of Tenpin or by visiting our multi-screen Odeon cinema.”