Bargain hunters are expected to hit the High Street in their millions today to take advantage of the Boxing Day sales.
Retailers claim big discounts will be available for consumers prepared to brave the winter cold and join early morning queues to be first in line for the best deals when doors open at dawn.
Shoppers searching for discounts online are expected to spend £748m today, or £519,000 every minute, according to data firm Experian and online retailing trade association IMRG.
An estimated 142 million visits were made to retail websites on Christmas Day and an online survey found that more than a third of Britons buy Christmas presents in the post-Christmas sales.
Experian’s Giles Longhurst, said: “This year has seen record breaking online shopping rates, particularly on Black Friday, which saw an astronomical £810m in estimated spend due to the massive resources put behind promotions by a wide range of retailers.
“Traditionally, the Boxing Day sales have been the busiest day for retailers in the UK, but this year we expect them to come second to Black Friday.”
Myf Ryan, director of the Westfield shopping centres, said Boxing Day remained a “huge attraction” for shoppers.
“Last year we had queues out of the door on Boxing Day by 5am,” he said.
“This year we expect an exceptionally busy day yet again, fuelled by excellent retail offers and special deals with over 50% off by many of our 600 retailers.”
But retail staff will also spend much of their time sorting out disputes with consumers returning Christmas presents.
The new retail ombudsman, Dean Dunham, who takes up his new role on 2 January, said he expected thousands of complaints from shoppers who have been refused refunds.
He said: “If the goods are not faulty, the law places no obligations on the retailer so you have to examine their terms and conditions.
“If their terms say the retailer will not accept returns where packaging is damaged or missing, and most terms do, the retailer will be perfectly within their rights to enforce this.”