Crowds of shoppers lined the high street before first light as major stores and retailers were expecting a bumper day in the Christmas sales.
Queues formed outside Harrods and on Oxford Street in central London as early as 6am for the bank holiday clearances.
Department stores John Lewis and Harrods opened their doors for the first time since Christmas after staying closed on Boxing Day, and were expecting a massive boost in trade.
John Lewis launched its online clearance at 5pm on Christmas Eve and saw sales rise by 42% with more than four products sold every second. The store also attracted a 25% increase in visitors online on Christmas Day with sales going up by 45%.
The most popular Christmas Day purchases included feather pillows, luxury white towels, napkin rings, LCD televisions and laptops.
Model Jerry Hall and her eldest daughter Lizzy Jagger officially launched the Harrods sale at the Knightsbridge store.
The pair posed in the luxury department store’s Shoe Boudoir as shoppers rushed to take advantage of the designer discounts – some of the bargains included a Herve Leger navy and purple body con dress, which was reduced from £1,350 to £675, a Laura Mercier Mini Souffle Sampler Set, which was reduced from £41 to £20, and an Ecritoire Champagne Gift Set from 1959, 1969 and 1979, reduced from £3,500 to £2,995.
Mother and daughter both looked elegant in black outfits and trademark red lipstick, surrounded by a tower of giftboxes and shoes, after they arrived in a horse-drawn carriage.
Shopping centres around the UK were also prepared for a busy day as the big freeze eased its grip on the country and tempted shoppers back on to the high street.
Tim Walley, general manager at the Bullring in Birmingham, said about 200,000 shoppers were expected to visit the shopping centre, while Glen Barkworth, general manager at the Arndale Centre in Manchester, said: “With VAT increasing in a few days’ time the retailers are gearing themselves up to take advantage, they have purchased in bulk and the public are willing to buy.”