Bargain hunters queued outside shops during the night in order to be first in line for Boxing Day sales.
Those in the top three tiers of lockdown restrictions took advantage of non-essential stores being open on Saturday to grab reduced items.
Pictures showed people waiting in the middle of the night in Leicester, Liverpool, Birmingham and North Tyneside.
The shoppers decided to attend the traditional Boxing Day sales despite Boris Johnson asking people to avoid the large crowds normally seen on this day amid rising coronavirus cases.
Oxford Street and other usually busy areas in London and the South East were quiet on Saturday after Tier 4 restrictions forced non-essential shops to close last weekend.
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Around 8.2 million shoppers are expected to hit the high street on Boxing Day, despite extensive new restrictions.
But total spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with a year ago, according to research by the Centre for Retail Research for VoucherCodes.co.uk.
Boxing Day sales are expected to be £3.2bn, down 27% compared with last year.
Sales in physical stores are expected to reach £1.4bn, down 56% on the same day last year.
Online sales will jump around 56% to £1.8 billion as shoppers stay home, the report added.
Before the government announced on Wednesday that further areas would be put in Tier 4, experts had predicted sales through the week of 26 to 31 December would be £12.7bn.
Spending in London and the South East will be the most sharply affected by the new restrictions, due to the high concentration of shopping centres and department stores.
Bricks and mortar retailers will be the worst hit, having been expected to make £779m on Boxing Day in these areas before entering Tier 4.
This is now forecast to drop 76% to just £187m, the report added.
Anita Naik, lifestyle editor at VoucherCodes.co.uk, said: “The post-Christmas sales are always one of the busiest times for retailers, and while this is still the case, it’s not surprising to see a decline in sales for the third year in a row, especially due to the new restrictions in place for most of the country.
“In Tiers 1, 2 and 3, retailers can continue to trade so the picture is mixed. However, the impact on spending in Scotland and Wales – which are both bringing in new lockdown measures from Boxing Day – as well as Tier 4 areas in England is severe.”
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