FURNESS bargain hunters proved they were able to find the 50p clothing deals at a fashion store despite a mix-up over window posters turning it into something of a secret sale.

The Mail, on Friday, January 17, in 2003, noted: "River Island, in Portland Walk, Barrow, had slashed the price of sales stock by an extra 50 percent - but could not tell people about it.

"The shop had not received its posters advertising the bargains in time for the start of the sale - leaving staff relying on word of mouth to encourage customers.

"River Island bosses say the shop still attracted many people who took advantage of the bargains.

"Some of the clothes cost as little as 50p."

Manager Claire Fallon said: "We only had it confirmed at the last minute that the sale would be going ahead so it was a bit of a mad rush for us but we seem to be doing well despite it."

On January 3 in 2001 Jeffy Dandy, from the Dandy's beds and furniture store in Duke Street, Barrow, said he had opened the doors to his sale to find up to 100 people waiting in the cold to get in.

He said: "I was absolutely staggered at the number of people queuing up for the sales. I have never known anything like it."

The Mail noted: "Brothers John and Dave Walker, from Askam, camped out for more than 30 hours to be the first in the Stollers sale where they bought a suite knocked down from £1,785 to £99."

Seeking out the best deals also proved popular in 2001 and The Mail, on Monday January 8, said Barrow stores reported a boom in trade.

Nigel Poulton, the Debenhams store manager and chairman of the Barrow Retail Group, said: "It has been a very good year generally and it has been a good year for the sales.

"My fashion department has been doing particularly well.

"There were 20 to 30 people queueing on the first day of the sales,Thursday, December 29.

"There is a lot of confidence in Barrow at the moment."

Mr Poulton, who had worked for Debenhams for 18 years, said: "I am very optimistic about the future economy of Barrow.

"The talk of the new Morrisons store has not had any impact on my store. It was the same with the arrival of Tesco.

"On the contrary, these are good signs for the future.

"Barrow is creating smaller businesses as well. Hopefully this trend will continue."

Karen Wright, the duty manager at the Barrow Littlewoods store said:"Barrow is a good sales town.

"Our sale started the day after Boxing Day and it has picked up ever since really. It has been very good."