Some 60 million euros could be spent in London’s West End alone on Thursday as shops slashed prices for traditional Boxing Day sales.
Would-be shoppers travelled from far away places such as China, Nigeria and Israel for a chance to scoop up some bargains.
Some stores opened at 6am.
“I have never been such an idiot and queued up at this time of the morning before to go shopping, so there’s a first time for everything and this is my loony year,” said one man waiting for the shops to open.
“We want to get stuff for ourselves and our families, so if you come early you have more chance of getting all the nice stuff, than coming later,” explained a woman.
Shops did not wait for December 26 – some began sales online on Christmas Day and are believed to have received 117 million visits to their websites.
“I think the shops are very aware that people have limited budgets now and they want a piece of that budget before anybody else does,” said consumer expert at Moneymagpie.com, Jasmine Birtles.
Those desperate to be one of the first through the doors queued outside through the night of December 25.
The sales are expected to net retailers more than three billion euros.