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Mega Monday as Bluewater is gripped by shopping mayhem

PUBLISHED: 16:10 30 December 2009 | UPDATED: 11:21 23 August 2010

PACKED: Bluewater was busier than usual

PACKED: Bluewater was busier than usual

BARGAIN hunters defied the recession during the Christmas break with Bluewater shopping centre having record crowds. On Boxing Day 125,000 shoppers crammed the complex, up by about 25 per cent on last year s figures and with car parks 70 per cent full by

BARGAIN hunters defied the recession during the Christmas break with Bluewater shopping centre having record crowds.

On Boxing Day 125,000 shoppers crammed the complex, up by about 25 per cent on last year's figures and with car parks 70 per cent full by 11am.

It is thought the bumper figure was beaten on Monday, hailed 'Mega Monday' by bosses as visitors continued to pick up bargains as the sale period continued.

Andrew Parkinson, Bluewater general manager said: "We are anticipating that 'Mega Monday' will be our busiest day of the year.

"Thanks to a combination of the Bank Holiday, some great bargains and our unique day out experience, guests will be taking advantage of the extra long Christmas break and visiting Bluewater to make the most of the sales.

"For many, today is also about buying 'big ticket' items before the impending VAT increase."

On January 1, VAT is set to increase from 15 per cent to 17.5 per cent. It was slashed by the Government in December last year in a bid to boost the struggling British economy.

Speaking about 'Mega Monday', Simon Russell, managing director of John Lewis in Bluewater said: "We have had a very brisk start to our sale with the hourly sales breaking new records yesterday.

"We have 15 per cent more stock than last year for the sale period and customers are snapping up the bargains. The most popular purchases so far are feather pillows, luxury white towels, glass, branded fashions, LCD televisions and furniture.

"The foodhall has also been busy with customers topping up for their New Year celebrations."

The sales frenzy was heightened by shoppers who took advantage of early openings as well-known retailers started their clearance sales, including Next at 6am and House of Fraser at 8am, with shoppers queuing from 4am.

Mr Parkinson said: "Key to this is that most retailers did not go on sale pre-Christmas."

Heavy traffic was reported on the approach to Bluewater on the A2 on Tuesday as the shopping spree continued.

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