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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 December 2005, 11:10 GMT
Thousands queue for sale bargains
Bluewater shopping centre
2,000 shoppers were queuing outside Bluewater before dawn
Shoppers began queuing before daylight on Tuesday to lay their hands on the best high street bargains.

At Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, 2,000 people were lined up outside the centre's Next store by 0300 BST.

A Bluewater spokesman said: "It was amazing. The shop opened at 5am but people were queuing from very early. By 3am the queue was huge."

The centre is expecting its busiest day of the year with between 150,000 and 160,000 people visiting.

'Complete madness'

Extra staff have been drafted in at the giant mall to cope with the rush.

Executive general manager Matthew Clements said more staff were needed to control the crowds and keep an eye on the shoppers.

"We have an operational team briefed and ready as we have for the last two years."

A Next spokeswoman said: "Our sales have become somewhat of a tradition, and we are one of the biggest on the high street. As usual we had people queuing outside before stores opened."

Marks and Spencer was also slashing prices by up to half on men and women's clothes lines, as well as on food and drink.

"We opened at 8am this morning, and customers were queuing three deep outside, it was madness.

When the shop opened, everyone ran in, and since then it's been really, really busy. I don't remember seeing it like this," a spokesman for Marks and Spencer's huge Marble Arch store said.

Some retailers have chosen not to open until the end of the Bank Holiday period.

Among those holding back is Harrods, which will open its doors to the public on Wednesday morning.


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