Sales fever gripped Wrexham today as a large number of town centre stores made big price cuts.
More than 1,000 bargain hunters started queuing from 3am outside Next in Eagles Meadow.
By 6am, when staff threw open the doors signalling the start of the famous sale, the shoppers snaked right around the shopping centre.
Next store manager Claire Birchall arrived at 5am and was amazed at the number of people waiting patiently for the sale to begin.
She said: “I have been with the company 10 years and manager here at Eagles Meadow since May. I am expecting our busiest ever day ever here in Wrexham.
“The queue is immense but people have been very patient. We are allowing 500 people in initially and then it will have to be a system of 10 out 10 in, that’s the only way we ensure customer and staff safety.”
She added: “I must admit I have never seen it so busy, it’s incredible.”
First in the queue were friends Laura Jones and Lousie Thomas of Wrexham who just beat Ashley Foulkes, who travelled from Rhyl to grab a bargain or two, to be first in line waiting for the doors to open.
All were after children’s clothes and had arrived at Eagles Meadow in the small hours of Boxing Day morning.
Laura said: “We got here at 3.10am and to be honest we didn’t think we would be first in the queue. I just want children’s clothes.”
Louise added: “I’m just going to grab what I can and then sort it out somewhere quiet. It’s simple, grab handfuls or you miss out. There’s time to sort out what you’ve got before going to the till.”
Ashley Foulkes said: “I just want to get a few bargains and I’m only interested in the children’s clothes.”
Kelly Davies, the stock room manager at Next, swapped the relative comfort of her store room for a windy Eagles Meadow as she took on the roll of Queue Controller for the morning rush.
She said: “It’s incredible but people have been very patient. I expect it will be chaos throughout the day.
“I am expecting to see well over 1,000 people through the doors before 7am and it will undoubtedly stay busy right throughout the day and the coming week.”
First out of the store carrying a bag of bargains was Wrexham lorry driver Steve Crowe.
He said: “It is chaos, no doubt about it. However, I only went to the menswear section which was relatively sane. I came on Saturday and spotted what I want and knew where it was.
“I got here just before 6am and it’s only taken me around 20 minutes to get in, get what I want and get out. I certainly wouldn’t fancy buying children’s or women’s clothes as it’s crazy around those sections.”
Wrexham taxi driver Johnny Boycott was second out of the doors having also trawled the menswear section for sale bargains.
He said: “I am absolutely shattered. I have worked all night then come straight here. I brought several shoppers here to Eagles Meadow in the early hours and arrived myself to queue up at around 5.30am.
“I only wanted men’s clothes and that section wasn’t so bad to be honest. However, the rest of the store is absolutely packed to the rafters with queues forming at the tills.”
Kevin Critchley, Eagles Meadow Centre Manager, said that trade had also been ‘brisk’ at other stores in the centre during the day.
He said: “We have some very happy shoppers, a lot of people have saved themselves hundreds of pounds so it really was worth the effort.”