Millions of bargain-hunting Brits are today braving travel mayhem in a bid to to hit snap up the best Boxing Day sales offers. 

Crowds of eager shoppers have been queueing since the early hours to get their hands on the best bargains, in a desperately-needed boost for the nation’s high streets. 

Travel experts predict that more than 15 million Britons will hit the roads to take part in the post-Christmas sales. 

But the rush comes amid warnings cities could come to a standstill, with severe traffic jams clogging streets as a result of the on-going rail strikes. 

Trains across Britain have been brought to a halt for the second day running, following a walkout by employees who are members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT).

People line the streets outside Zara in Birmingham for the Boxing Day sales today

Huge queues of people have already packed into Manchester's Trafford Centre for the Boxing Day sales

Huge queues of people have already packed into Manchester’s Trafford Centre for the Boxing Day sales

But the travel carnage has failed to stop bargain hunters in Manchester’s Trafford Centre, who have piled into the shopping centre in their hundreds. 

There were similar scenes in Birmingham, where hundreds of people lined the streets to be the first to get into the city’s Primark store. 

And in London, shoppers were seen massing outside the capital’s high-end Selfridges department store.

But in the city’s railway stations – normally packed with eager bargain hunters on Boxing Day – were deserted.

It comes as the latest wave of militant industrial action, which has already caused much disruption over the festive period,  kicked in, causing fresh carnage for post-Christmas sales.

The walkout by train drivers and rail staff means more people will be travelling by roads.

Traffic chiefs have warned the surge of shoppers will cause mayhem on major roads, as millions seek to hit up the sales.

The AA said it expects 15.2 million cars on the roads across the UK this Boxing Day, with football fans and eager shoppers among those most likely to travel. 

The RAC has warned that the M25 is expected to get clogged up.

Two hotspots for queues include junction 7 to 16 clockwise, and from junction four to one anti-clockwise.

A spokesman for the AA said: ‘Traffic is likely to build around shopping centres as lots of people seek a bargain in the sales, meanwhile football fans will travel to see their teams.

‘There is scope for localised traffic congestion and more short trips, but traffic should be dispersed throughout the day as people take their time after Christmas Day.’

Shoppers in Birmingham pictured with their haul of bargains just after dawn today

Shoppers in Birmingham pictured with their haul of bargains just after dawn today

All smiles: two women come away looking pleased during the post-Christmas sales in Birmingham city centre this morning

All smiles: two women come away looking pleased during the post-Christmas sales in Birmingham city centre this morning 

Shoppers queue outside Selfridges' flagship department store in London for the post-Christmas sales today

Shoppers queue outside Selfridges’ flagship department store in London for the post-Christmas sales today

Many people have been queueing up since the early hours of this morning to become the first people inside shops for the Boxing Day sales. Pictured are lines at the Trafford Centre, Manchester

Many people have been queueing up since the early hours of this morning to become the first people inside shops for the Boxing Day sales. Pictured are lines at the Trafford Centre, Manchester

Despite the surge into high streets, finance chiefs predict shoppers to spend less in the post-Christmas sales this year – as purse strings tighten due to the rising cost-of-living. 

Consumers will spend an average of £229 each during the festive sales period, down from the £247 spent last year, according to a study by Barclaycard.

With cost pressures rising, 41 per cent will be turning to reselling platforms in a bid to bag a bargain, while 28 per cent even plan to use these for offloading unwanted gifts.

And 52 per cent of the 2,000 people polled intend to reduce the number of fast fashion purchases they make, compared to last year’s 27 per cent.

While a conscientious 40 per cent will buy from retailers with good sustainability credentials, and 51 per cent want to support local and smaller businesses, up from 22 per cent year-on-year.

Harshna Cayley, head of online payments at Barclaycard Payments, said: ‘The rising cost-of-living and inflationary pressures have naturally had an impact on the amount being spent in the post-Christmas sales this year.

‘Having said that, retailers can take confidence knowing that Brits still plan to make the most of the deals and discounts on offer.

‘One trend that has emerged this year is the rising popularity of reselling sites.

‘Many consumers intend to make the most of these platforms by adopting a love-it or list-it approach to Christmas gifts they receive, while also searching them to snap up ‘second-hand’ unloved bargains.

‘It will be interesting to see how sales volumes to these sites are impacted as cost conscious shoppers make use of them.’

The study also found personal tech items are most sought after among sales shoppers (42 per cent), with food and drink (41 per cent) and household technology items (32 per cent) also proving popular.

Scores of people rushed into the Primark store in Birmingham after queuing for hours

Scores of people rushed into the Primark store in Birmingham after queuing for hours

Thousands of people have been cramming into cities nationwide to bag the best Boxing Day deals. Pictured is a shopper in Birmingham

Thousands of people have been cramming into cities nationwide to bag the best Boxing Day deals. Pictured is a shopper in Birmingham

Hundreds of shopping have managed to dodge the midday rush into cities to snap up the best Boxing Day offers. Pictured are shoppers in the Trafford Centre

Hundreds of shopping have managed to dodge the midday rush into cities to snap up the best Boxing Day offers. Pictured are shoppers in the Trafford Centre

But it comes amid fresh warnings of carnage and delays on major roads as railway union workers continue with their strikes on the nation's train lines. Pictured: Trafford Centre queues

But it comes amid fresh warnings of carnage and delays on major roads as railway union workers continue with their strikes on the nation’s train lines. Pictured: Trafford Centre queues

Boxing Day remains the most popular day to start post-Christmas sales shopping, with 47 per cent planning to make purchases either online or in-store today.

And an eager 46 per cent kicked off their post-Christmas shop on Christmas Eve, while 38 per cent started on Christmas Day itself.

But rising living costs are also having an impact on 42 per cent of shoppers who said price increases will limit their ability to shop in the post-Christmas sales.

Of those, 62 per cent plan to spend less in the sales than they usually would, according to the OnePoll figures.

While 27 per cent of those who feel rising living costs is impacting their spending ability in the post-Christmas sales are using the festive period to stock up on essential items only – with clothing (10 per cent) and necessary food and drink (eight per cent) their most likely purchases.

Harry Wallop, retail expert and commentator, said: ‘The increased use of reselling sites this festive period makes perfect sense, and speaks to the fact that more Brits are thinking about the environment, as well as facing pressures on their personal finances.

London's Paddington Station, traditionally heaving with visitors during the Boxing Day sales this morning stood empty amid the latest bout of railway strikes

London’s Paddington Station, traditionally heaving with visitors during the Boxing Day sales this morning stood empty amid the latest bout of railway strikes 

The AA said it expects 15.2 million cars on the roads across the UK this Boxing Day, with football fans among those most likely to travel. Pictured: The Christmas rush on the M25

The AA said it expects 15.2 million cars on the roads across the UK this Boxing Day, with football fans among those most likely to travel. Pictured: The Christmas rush on the M25

Network Rail had already told passengers to 'only travel by train if absolutely necessary' between the Christmas period to 8 January

Network Rail had already told passengers to ‘only travel by train if absolutely necessary’ between the Christmas period to 8 January

‘Given the tough economic backdrop, reselling unwanted items can help people’s finances and is also a more conscious way to shop – reducing waste and enabling shoppers to snap up bargains at a price they wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere.’

The surge into city high streets come as rail passengers were warned about the impact of the train strikes a week ago, with Christmas Eve services finishing earlier than usual, as the Britain’s winter of discontent continues.

Network Rail had already told passengers to ‘only travel by train if absolutely necessary’ between the Christmas period to 8 January. 

Boxing Day is usually an extremely popular day for airport transfers such as the Heathrow Express and Stansted Express.

This year, however, passengers will be forced to find other ways of getting to and from Britain’s airport. 

Other services across the country affected by the RMT strike include the Merseyrail, which was due to run a half-hourly service across Merseyside.

Chiltern Railways historically ran two trains an hour between London Marylebone and Oxford Parkway, calling at the Bicester Village outlet store.

Top 10 items predicted to be a smash hit in this year’s Boxing Day sales 

1. Personal technology items like smartphones, tablets and Amazon Kindles

2. Food and drink items – with chocolate and wine topping the list

3. Household technology items like TVs

4. Kitchen electronics

5. Fashion items like clothes, shoes, and  accessories

6. Homeware items like furniture, cushions and bedding

7. Beauty packs with makeup and cosmetics 

8. Discounted Christmas-related items 

9. Sport and fitness kit 

10. Children’s toys and games 

ScotRail historically operated a Boxing Day service in the Strathclyde area with its first Boxing Day trains between Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High in 2021.

Northern operated a service between Liverpool Lime Street and St Helens Central on Boxing Day last year.

Southern also served several routes on that day, connecting London Bridge with locations such as Brighton, Crystal Palace and East Croydon.

Meanwhile coach operators National Express and Megabus have experienced strong demand.

As many head to the airports, more than 1,000 Border Force staff are expected to walk out in the latest round of industrial action.

Border Force staff will be on strike, affecting passport control desks at Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester and Glasgow airports.

As a result military personnel have been drafted in to airports to keep passengers moving.

On Christmas Day passengers at Heathrow and Gatwick praised the ‘brilliant’ military for doing the job with ‘record’ efficiency today.  

Throughout the winter months, Britain has seen union members from multiple different sectors striking over pay and working conditions over the last few months.

The Royal Mail walked out again on December 23 and stopped delivering letters and parcels – only prioritising special services.

Some 115,000 members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) went on strike for the then 17th day, having cost the organisation over £100million already.

It meant last minute cards and presents did not to make it in time for Christmas.

The Royal Mail said despite ‘well-developed contingency plans’ it ‘cannot fully replace the daily efforts of its frontline workforce’. 

The Armed Forces have been deployed to six airports across the UK as Border Force staff strike

The Armed Forces have been deployed to six airports across the UK as Border Force staff strike

Members of the Royal College of Nursing also carried out industrial action last week on December 20, and the week before on December 15 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As a result more than 40,000 patient appointments and procedures were rescheduled.  

The union, who is battling with the Government to provide an above inflation pay rise, have called two more dates for strike action.

Unless a pay plan is negotiated, there will be two 12 hour walk outs on January 18 and 19.

Ambulance workers have also planned two more days of industrial action to commence on January 11 and 23, affecting London, Yorkshire, North West, North East and the South West.

Thousands of ambulance workers already walked out this week prompting ministers to warn people to be careful, ‘use common sense’ and avoid risks. 

GMB had originally planned a second ambulance worker strike on December 28 but took the decision to cancel it to ‘allow people to enjoy Christmas’.



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