SALES fever hit Huddersfield big style yesterday.

Shivering shoppers joined early-morning queues all over town ready to bag the best bargains on the first day of the post-Christmas sales.

And the rush to spend money showed no signs of abating throughout the day.

The hardiest shoppers were out very early, waiting for Next, in the Kingsgate centre, to open at 5am.

Hours later the crowds were still arriving and there were long queues inside.

Department stores Beatties, in the Kingsgate centre, and Peters, in King Street, also had long queues of people waiting for them to open.

Caroline Whittle, buying director at Peters, said they had enjoyed a bumper day's trading.

"We opened at 9am and people were queueing," she said. "I think many of them had been out early to catch the start of the Next sale!

"We've been very busy. The winter weather has helped, because I think it has put some people off making long journeys to shopping centres and they have stayed local.

"We've got 80% of our stock in the sale, so we are hoping the rest of the week will be the same."

The Kingsgate centre was the most crowded area of town - with cars queueing to enter its car park.

Helen Seymour, of Golcar, had been in town since 4.30am.

She said: "I came for the Next sale but after that I thought I might as well have a look around.

"I got a lovely top from Monsoon that usually I couldn't afford. I do the sales every year, I love it."

David Tite, of Fartown, was an unwilling shopper - having been brought to the sales by his wife.

"I was dragged here really, as I usually don't like shopping," he said. "I had hoped it would be quieter if we came about lunchtime, but it's still pretty crowded. At least we might get some bargains!"

Retailers are predicting that trade will be brisk all week.

But financial organisations are urging shoppers not to let bargains tempt them into debt.

New research by credit advice organisation www.moneybas shows that 49% of Yorkshire people regret their sales purchases. It says many people do not check their bank balances before spending.

Frances Walker, from, said: "The sales are great for saving money - if you know what you want, have budgeted for it and stick to your plan.

"However, they are a minefield for anyone who gets sidetracked by big discounts and ends up spending more than they intended on items they don't need or want."

Yorkshire Bank also surveyed shoppers and found one in 10 were concerned about paying for their sales purchases and 90% did not bother to budget for their spending spree.

Many people used expensive payment methods, such as credit cards, to buy sale items.

But the savings made were often cancelled out by the high interest paid on their card balances.

According to experts, sales shopping can also take its toll on your stress levels.

The bank's survey showed one in 10 shoppers were likely to physically fight in stores to bag a bargain.

Around 48% of people got stressed by queueing and 36% were annoyed at having to fight through crowded shops.

According to Yorkshire Bank-commissioned psychologist Dr David Lewis, this is bad for shoppers' health.

"Shoppers at January sales may have heart rates equal to combat pilots flying into action or riot police confronting a mob," he said. "These professionals are trained in how to deal with stress. The shopper has to cope as best they can, leading to hearts racing, blood pressure rising and, in extreme cases, a full-on panic attack."

His tip to avoid this is to plan your sales shopping and make sure finances are healthy before heading to the sales.