Sales fever gripped Wrexham on Boxing Day.
Around 1,000 bargain hunters started queuing from 2.45am outside the Next fashion store at the Eagles Meadow shopping centre.
By 6am, when staff threw open the doors signalling the start of the famous sale, the shoppers snaked right around the shopping centre.
First in the queue was caterer Helen Williams, mum Sarah Rowland and Grandmother Debra Griffiths, all of Wrexham.
According to Debra, the wait was definitely worth it as she was shopping for clothes for her two granddaughters and her grandson.
She said: “The amount of money you can save is incredible. Last year I came out with about 18 bags full – although I did buy cushions too. I can buy clothes for the year for the two older children although my grandson is only a few weeks old.
“Once my daughter, Natasha, and I have finished in here we will pack the stuff in the car and head for River Island for their sale which starts at 7am.”
Meanwhile, Helen Williams was looking for clothes for her young son and daughter.
She said: “It might be crazy but the savings you can make means it’s worth it. I’m here every year without fail and usually right at the front of the queue. I got here at 2.45am. It will be worth it if I can get to the children’s section first and get a chance to get what I want.
“It’s a case of grab what you can and then find a corner to sort out what you want and what you don’t want, you can leave. It is a bit like a rugby scrum.”
First to emerge from the packed store just after 6am was Karen Hughes, of Wrexham, says she was thrilled to have managed to get the one item she had set her heart on.
She said: “I saw a coat I wanted before Christmas and waited as I knew it was going to go into the sale. I saved £40 and I’m thrilled. It was definitely worth coming down although I didn’t get here until just before 6am.
“The queue was really long and I thought I might miss out but luckily I was able to get my coat, pay for it and be back out just after 6am. I’m really pleased.”
Husband and wife, Chris and Amie Gash, of Coedpoeth, who jointly run CAG Construction, were thrilled to make big savings on the children’s clothes they bought for their son and daughter.
Amie said: “Our son Bradley is three and our daughter Rose is just three weeks old. We have made huge savings buying lots of clothes for Bradley. It’s definitely been worth it.
“We will be looking at other stores too, once they open, to see if there are any more bargains to be had.”
Mother and daughters team of Sarah, Emily and Samantha Smith, all of Whitchurch made the trek to Eagles Meadow as they always do for the start of the Boxing Day Next sale.
Mum Sarah, a payroll clerk, said: “I’ve been shopping for clothes for myself and got more or less what I was after. There really are some good bargains. I’m delighted. We do come every year; it’s something of a tradition now!”
Samantha, who works as an Aston Barclay said: “I’ve got a daughter of five and a three-month-old boy. I’ve been able to stock up on clothes and saved a small fortune. I’m very pleased.”
Sister act Gemma and Rachel Jones, of Wrexham, both work in a town centre bar and both have two children.
Gemma, who has a son Charlie, three, and a daughter Nylah, two, said: “Basically I’ve kitted them out for the year. Our family always give Rachel and me money for presents because they know we love coming to the Next sale.
“I’ve got all the clothes, more or less, I need for my children for the year and I’ve saved an absolute fortune. I spent £120 and reckon I’ve saved double that amount.”
Rachel, who has a daughter, Halle, six, and a son, Freddie, two, said: “It’s been brilliant. We look forward to this every year. We are going to pack these bags away and then it’s Debenhams next!”
One of the youngest bargain hunters to hit the Eagles Meadow Next sale was Ella Williams, nine, who went along with her mum, Gemma Williams.
Gemma said: “We were here just before 6am. Ella woke me up at 5am she loves it. We have stocked up on children’s clothing for Ella and her two sisters, Ruby, eight and Dakota, five.
“There’s no question there we have saved a lot of money and sorted out the children’s wardrobes for much of the year. And no doubt we will be back again next year too!”
Kevin Critchley, the manager of Eagles Meadow, revealed that business was also 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.
“But those who did not get up before the crack of dawn need not worry – there are plenty of bargains left.”