Shoppers out in force to give Lincoln retailers a promising start to the year
Shoppers are giving Lincoln traders a promising start to the year after splashing the cash during the past week.
There were record-breaking sales across the country on Boxing Day as people got up early to grab a bargain or shop online.
And in Lincoln people have continued to come out in numbers to support both independent and national retailers.
The hunt for cut-price goods became so intense that in one city centre fashion store a Boxing Day row between two women reportedly escalated into a fight.
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It was estimated up to ten million shoppers hit the streets across the nation on Boxing Day.
And up to £2.9 billion is thought to have been spent online and in stores.
Web sales also hit record levels, with data firm Experian claiming figures were up 17 per cent on last year.
In Lincoln, uphill independent retailers say they enjoyed a healthy Christmas period and in some cases saw increases on sales from 2011.
Lorraine Vickery, who runs the women's fashion store Vis à Vis in Bailgate, said good trading before and after Christmas was encouraging for the future. She said: "The sales took off as we would have hoped.
"I think quite often people come in to pick up things that they might have seen beforehand and hope are still there.
"We're positive about the future. We've done better than last year."
However, Ms Vickery said the prospects of smaller traders would be improved if there was more control over sales run by large national chains.
"I think there should be some kind of regulation," she said.
"They have mid-season and other sales and it does have an impact on the Bailgate."
Barclays bank, in High Street, opened on New Year's Day for the first time since it became recognised as an official bank holiday in 1974.
The bank said the launch of January sales was expected to see UK consumers spend more than £530 million on debit cards and withdraw more than £250 million from cash points.
Early reports of trading in the lead up to Christmas suggested shops in Lincoln were expecting to record better sales figures for the period than in 2011.
Julia Marris, owner of Comestibles delicatessen in Bailgate, said: "From the Christmas market to Christmas Eve we did really well.
"But the one-way system at the market itself didn't work for us.
"It flowed much better last year."
But for consumers, the sales have proved a great time to pick up a bargain.
Sam Stephenson, 25, who went shopping with friends, said she thought the city was busier than last year.
"I came a couple of days before Christmas and it was absolutely heaving," she said. "It was really busy.
"There were a lot of people out then.
"You can definitely pick up a bargain, I guess because a lot of stuff is end of line."