IT was a strange and quiet day on what should have been a busy time of year for traders in Barrow who saw a slow trickle of shoppers heading for the Boxing Day sales at the weekend.

With just a handful of shops open in the town centre on Saturday, there were few people wandering between the stores in search of a bargain.

The busiest of the open stores on Portland Walk was JD Sports, which saw a small queue form outside, in the path of the cold wind brought on by storm Bella.

Also among those waiting to welcome in customers were La Chic, New Look and Boots.

Shopper Kevin Robinson was saddened by the lack of choice, he said: “I’ve been up town and I’ve only been in two shops, I am very disappointed.”

Another shopper said: "I went to Wilko's but there wasn't many people about.

"I don't think that I have ever seen town so quiet on Boxing Day before, it is really weird."

The quiet streets of Barrow's town centre matched the mood around the rest of the country, with figures from retail intelligence agency Springboard revealing that footfall for Boxing Day shopping was down 57 per cent in the UK up to 10am compared with last year.

Some 24 per cent of the 2,000 adults surveyed by the bank in December said they planned to start sales shopping on Christmas Eve - up from 21 per cent last year.

A shopper in Barrow said: "I was hoping to get some good deals but there aren't many shops that are actually open."

Some members of the community believed that the majority of stores staying closed on Boxing Day was a good decision, reminiscing the days gone by when December 26 was a day of rest for workers.

Michael Lamb said: "Never used to open on Boxing Day; then we became mass-consumers and now we struggle to go a day without a shop being open.

"I'm not even that old and I remember paper shops shutting before lunch on a Sunday once everyone had got their Sunday papers."

Dawn Mckellar agreed with the sentiment, she said: “Boxing day is for chilling out.”