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Hundreds of shoppers brave rain as Fenwick and John Lewis Leicester sales begin


Bargain-hunters were out in force again yesterday as more high street stores launched their post–Christmas sales.

The seasonal shopping rush got into full swing with flagship department stores Fenwick and John Lewis beginning their sales.

Up to 1,300 customers queued in Market Street waiting for Fenwick's doors to open at 8am, with some eager shoppers arriving as early as 3am.

John Lewis, in the Highcross shopping centre, was also busy, with 150 customers queuing in the rain to be among the first to get their hands on a bargain.

Fenwick visitors were enticed by a 10 per cent discount on all products, in addition to "early bird" offers on selected lines of luxury bedding, furniture and men's suits, with total savings of up to 70 per cent.

Store director David Illingworth said: "We sold out of beds which were in the sale by about 8.30am and sales of duvets went crazy."

Offers included £399 beds reduced to £99, half-price perfume gift sets and £199 men's suits on sale for £45.

Mr Illingworth said: "In two hours, from 8am to 10am, we sold more than we did in the two days prior to Christmas, which is pretty unbelievable.

"By 11am, we'd had 6,000 customers through the doors – a 20 per cent increase on December 27 last year.

"That so many people braved the rain to come and see us was very pleasing, if unexpected."

Jasu Mistry, 63, of Birstall, was on the hunt for a wall lamp.

"I wanted one for my living room," she said. "I think I've spotted the one I want. They've got some great deals."

Victor Ncube, 59, of London Road, Leicester, said: "I don't normally like shopping but today is the one exception of the year. I'm thinking about getting a crew neck jumper and perhaps a suit.

"You can't argue with the deals."

Cliff Vanstone, managing director of John Lewis, Leicester, said: "We opened our doors at 8am with a number of customers already queuing to take advantage of our clearance offers."

Mr Vanstone said the biggest sellers were fashion and home furnishings.

Rebecca Tew, 30, of Syston, and her family were among the John Lewis and Highcross bargain-hunters.

"I'm on a bargain mission," she said. "I bought some tea towels at John Lewis and am on my way to the Disney Shop and Build a Bear to redeem some Christmas vouchers for the kids."

Highcross general manager Jo Tallack said she expected to see 90,000 people through the doors.

"Its been absolutely manic," she said. "Boxing Day is more about the hardened bargain-hunters but Thursday was more about people coming out and enjoying the sale – certainly spending a lot longer browsing and taking full advantage of all the bargains."

Things were not quite so rosy for independent traders in St Martin's Square, who opened their doors for the annual sale at 9am.

Tamsin Straiton, owner of Polly's Boutique, which had a 70 per cent off sale, said: "To be honest, it's been a wash-out due to the rain. It's such a shame because December 27 is traditionally our big day of the year."

Hundreds of shoppers brave rain as Fenwick and John Lewis Leicester  sales  begin

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