BARGAIN hunters were out in force for the Boxing Day sales as shopping centres reported better-thanexpected trade.

In Bolton town centre, early shopper Andrew Mazodze, aged 18, of Hall i’th’ Wood, said: “I was in town at 8am and there were a few queues outside the shops.

There were at least 50 people outside Primark.

“I’ve been to Republic, Zara, Next and River Island. I’ve bought some jeans and tops. I’ve spent £50 so far and think the prices are good.”

Jake Leigh, aged 17, from Breightmet, added: “I’ve bought some jeans for £15 and a shirt.

The jeans were a great bargain. I’m trying to buy some shoes but I’ve got big feet — size 12 — so it’s tricky.” Cath Gregson, of Morris Green, said: “I’ve just bought some cushions which I’m very pleased about. There are some good bargains. ”

Natasha Burgess, aged 19, of Heaton, said: “I’ve bought some tops, jeans and a hat. I’ve also bought DVDs from HMV, including The Hunger Games, X-Men, Drive and Pulp Fiction.

I saved a bit of money before Christmas for this.”

Tracy West, aged 40, of Farnworth, and daughter Jayne, aged 17, had spent £200. She said: “I’ve bought a Christmas decoration — a big panda that lights up — reduced to £22 from £50.

It’s great. It’ll go on show when we get home.”

Retail bosses said trade had been “positive”.

Malcolm Angus, manager of Crompton Place, said: “The centre has been very busy. New Look opened early at 9am and customers were queuing outside. It looks set to be a bumper sales season after a very promising festive rush.”

Rod Neasham, manager of the Market Place shopping centre, added: “Visitor numbers were above regional averages throughout December and the first day of the sales attracted crowds as early as 4.30am.’ Heather Ingham, from Middlebrook Retail and Leisure Park, said: “We had a queue in the early hours outside Next, which opened at 6am.

Trade across the site has been very busy with people visiting the shops along with crowds for Bolton Wanderers.

“It has been hectic.”