BARGAIN hunters were up at dawn to hit the sales in Huddersfield.
But the shopping continued all day yesterday, with fewer then 40 available spaces in the Kingsgate car park at midday yesterday.
While the Great Northern Retail Park saw busy trade with traffic queuing to get into the shopping area just before lunchtime.
Around the country, retailers and shopping malls reported "record-breaking" levels of trade. Retailers in most parts of the UK said they had made their best ever start to the traditional post-Christmas rush.
Hayley Hampson, 29, of Moldgreen, was one of those who got up early on Boxing Day and went into Huddersfield town centre.
She said: "I think some people may think we’re all sad to spend Boxing Day in the shops and there was a time when I would probably have agreed with them.
"But my boyfriend Andrew and I bought a house six weeks ago and this is the best way to buy things for the house and make our money go further.
"We had a list of what we needed from furniture to bedding and things for the kitchen. We looked before Christmas at what the cost was and then came back for it cheaper.
"We haven’t spent more on more items, we’ve got what we needed for a lot less when every penny counts for us.
"Andrew has been working six days a week and long shifts to earn the extra money, I’ve been doing overtime, so this is the best time for us to actually wander round the shops.
"I think we’ve probably saved about £350 on the items of our list, I got a bedding set for £25 and it was originally £60, so it makes sense money-wise to buy in the sales."
The couple also went shopping at furniture outlets at Birstall where they hoped to save around £500 on a sofa and TV unit.
Lizzie Scott, 19, was shopping with her friend Amber Taylor, also 19.
Lizzie, of Birkby, said: "I got money for Christmas and there was a coat I wanted so the only way to guarantee I get it was to either buy it before Christmas full price or come first thing and make sure I get it.
"I saved £45 on the full price, which means I can put it towards something else.
"I’m visiting relatives later on, so still get to see family."
Nationally, an estimated 5.6 million people hit the roads to go in search of a bargain.
With sales at stores such as Next opening at 6am, more than one in 10 (13%) of those were estimated to set off between 5am and 9am.
But motoring agency Green Flag said the Boxing Day rush was expected to peak at around 10.30am.
This year online sales are increasing as people shop from the comfort and warmth of their own homes.
Debenhams, where its Boxing Day sale at the White Rose centre started at 7am, saw a 75% spike in Christmas Day online traffic compared with last year as people searched for bargains.
A Debenhams spokeswoman said customers were enjoying the opportunity to pick up bargains without leaving home.
Business was brisk at shopping centres in the run-up to Christmas despite many families tightening their purse strings amid financial uncertainty.
Yesterday Selfridges department stores claimed they had seen their biggest ever first hour of trading after opening four stores in England at 9am, with hourly takings expected to peak at £1.3 million.
Selfridges confirmed that it had beaten Boxing Day records set in 2009 – with trade at its stores in London, Manchester and Birmingham up by 15% on the same day two years ago.