SHOPPERS have been cashing in on the January sales, which have been in full force since Boxing Day, with many traders hailing the event as a huge success.

Big red posters showcasing slashed prices in some stores by up to 80 per cent have been appearing in windows at scores of shops in the town centre and beyond.

And despite storms that saw strong winds and heavy rain battering Swindon, many people still braved leaving their home in search of a good deal.

Steve Fawke, managing director of the Brunel Centre, said it is too early to give exact figures for footfall but said Boxing Day had been particularly busy.

“The January sales are almost as important as the Christmas sales,” said Steve.

“They remind people we are still here and people can make their Christmas pounds which they may have got as a present go a little further.

“With Easter being so late this year, the January sales are arguably more important.

“February can be quite a dismal month for retailers and it can remain quiet right the way through to Easter, so retailers rely on good trade at this time of the year to see them through.”

Staff at Blue Banana, on the first floor of the Brunel Centre, said more people had been snapping up its sales this year compared to last.

The shop, which sells a selection of clothes and does body piercings, started its sales on Boxing Day.

“We were packed on Boxing Day, I wasn’t expecting it but we were rushed off our feet,” said Kathryn Hodkinson, 23, of Royal Wootton Bassett.

“People have been mad for it this year. It is always quieter than before Christmas when everyone is rushing round getting their presents but we have been really busy.”

She said compared to a standard day, footfall during the sales surged to around double the usual.

JD Sports, in Bridge Street, has a number of its goods selling for half price.

Manager Tim Jones said general numbers have been up.

“Boxing Day was a bit quiet,” said Tim, 24. “But there has been a good increase in people coming in. I’d say at least 50 per cent more people than on an average day.”

Crystals, at the Brunel Centre, which sells jewellery and unusual stones and gems, has also seen more shoppers swamping its store in search for a festive bargain this year. It is offering people 30 per cent off all of its items.

Shop assistant Bethan Graham-Dolman said: “We have beaten our sales target from last year so that should mean our numbers are up.

“January sales tend to be more for people buying clothes and that sort of thing but we have had quite a lot of people coming in.”