LIVERPOOL city centre was packed with shoppers hunting for last minute Christmas gifts over the weekend
They joined millions of people hitting the shops on a record- breaking day as time ran out to stock up the fridge and buy presents.
High streets, shopping centres and super- markets were packed yesterday as retailers were restricted to only six hours of trade and Sainsbury’s reported its busiest ever hour in terms of customers served from noon to 1pm.
Liverpool had already seen storming sales throughout December.
Despite a slow start in November the number of people hitting the stores along with sales figures had shot up compared with last year – and compared to the national and regional averages.
Even before the weekend there had been five million foot flows – the number of times people are recorded walking through different parts of the city – in December, and the first day of the month saw Liverpool ONE’s busiest day on record.
Ian Ward, the centre director of St John’s who was recently made Chairman of Liverpool City Central Business Improvement District, said: "We are certainly bucking national trends and showing extremely strong performance."
Last year 1.2m people came through St John’s shopping centre in December, with 346,000 in the week before Christmas itself, but Mr Ward said he expected even better footfall this year and the centre has opened until 8pm to capitalise on the boost in trade.
Yesterday was expected to have been the busiest day of the year on the high street, with one credit card company predicting more than 30m transactions, and the British Retail Consortium predicting there would be £5bn of retail spending over the weekend.
A spokeswoman for John Lewis said the retailer was experiencing a busy weekend, which followed "a great last two weeks".
Visa Europe said customers were set to spend £1.26bn on their Visa cards and that it would process 31.9m transactions yesterday.