Black Friday becomes peak Christmas shopping time at Westfield's london shopping centres

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Westfield said its live events had helped draw more shoppers to its sites (Source: Getty)

Black Friday became the peak shopping time during the Christmas period at London's Westfield shopping centres this year.

More than double the 320,000 people who came for Boxing Day sales turned up for a three-day shopping weekend over Black Friday, with 850,000 bargain-hunters descending on Stratford and White City.

Read more: This European shopping centre giant is buying Westfield for $24.7bn

This slightly pipped the last-minute rush on the weekend just before Christmas, when 800,000 people came for the more traditional mad dash for presents.

While footfall statistics have consistently shown a downturn in visits to shopping centres, Westfield benefited from the draw of its live events during the holiday season, including guest star Gwen Stefani turning on the Christmas lights.

Read more: Westfield's White City expansion is ahead of schedule

The figures demonstrate that Black Friday has firmly shifted the beginning of the Christmas shopping boom earlier, leaving the tail-end of the season struggling.

Yesterday it emerged that shopper numbers slumped on New Year's Eve, rounding off what many retailers feared would be a disappointing December.

But Next's surprisingly cheery Christmas sales figures gave hope to the retail industry this morning, boosting the share prices of other retailers as investors anticipated a slightly better Christmas performance all-round.

Read more: DEBATE: Is there any point to Black Friday and Cyber Monday in Britain?