MORE than two million shoppers in Scotland are expected to spend £373 million on Boxing Day but spending was predicted to fall for the first time in seven years.

One in two Scottish adults (2.1m) were expected to shop today amid price cuts of up to 88%.

A Centre for Retail Research study for VoucherCodes found £276m would be spent in stores in Scotland and £97m online, based on interviews with 80 major UK retailers and 1000 shoppers.

But spending will drop £31m or 8% from Boxing Day last year, with 250,000 fewer high street shoppers yesterday as in-store spending slumps, the Centre for Retail Research said. Online spending will be up.

Black Friday discounts taking post-Christmas purchases are blamed for the first year-on-year December 26 spending fall since 2012, analysts said.

Yesterday was still expected to be Scotland’s third-biggest shopping day in history, more than double Panic Saturday’s £144m before Christmas Day, and almost double Black Friday’s £213m.

Bargain-hunters were expected to have queued for sales from 3am.

Sales start in stores at 6am at Next, 7am at Debenhams and 9am at most retailers.

Security guards were on duty all night for queues, with in-store staff at work as early as 3am.

But Homebase will join John Lewis in staying shut on Boxing Day.

Around 130,000 attended Braehead Centre, near Glasgow, 110,000 at Glasgow’s Silverburn, 90,000 at Edinburgh’s Fort Kinnaird, 70,000 at Aberdeen’s Union Square, 60,000 at Livingston’s The Centre and 40,000 at Dundee’s Overgate.

More than 250 million UK retail website visits are expected, with Curry’s braced for up to 350,000 website visitors an hour and Selfridges due 1.5m website visits.

Bargain-hunters will flood stores and websites – but analysts said in-store spending will fall as shoppers are suffering from “discount fatigue” due to Black Friday sales and price cuts during December, which took spending away from post-Christmas.

Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research, said: “Boxing Day will be a massive shopping day with people queueing from early morning and a buoyant atmosphere – but in-store spending will be significantly down on last year, while online spending will be up.

“It will be the first time overall Boxing Day spending has fallen year-on-year since 2012, which was a bad Christmas for retail.

“There will be masses of people on high streets on Boxing Day, but people won’t be spending as much as in previous years as it will be more of a day out for families.

“People are moving from buying on high streets to buying online.

“Shoppers are tired of seeing so many discounts in stores. People will check what is in stores then go and look for deals online instead, with a rise in online spending.”

Duncan Brewer, a partner at retail consultants Oliver Wyman, said: “Boxing Day will be big but doesn’t look as good as in previous years.

“Retailers are throwing the kitchen sink at price cuts – but consumers have ‘discount fatigue’ after Black Friday and other December discounts.”

A British Retail Consortium spokesperson said: “Boxing Day is a busy time for specific products, with significant sales. But lots of shoppers opt to shop online rather than go into shops.”