The changing face of Boxing Day sales in Sussex was revealed this year.

While shoppers queued across the county to make the most of bargains at Next, Marks and Spencer and other large chains, online retailers began heavy discounts on Christmas Day with Amazon's UK website seeing a 263% rise in sales over the last five years.

Analysts Experian said that Christmas 2012 will be the "biggest and busiest ever" for online retailers in the UK, with visits to retail websites expected to reach 126 million today, up 31% on 2011 and consumers predicted to spend £472.5m online.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said high street spending was "acceptable but not exceptional" this festive period - blaming it poor accessibility to high streets and weak consumer demand rather than online shopping.

Richard Dodd of BRC said: "There are a lot of myths around online retail. 10% of overall retailing over the year comes from online shopping and actually it presents lots of opportunities for the retail sector."

A Begbies Traynor report said almost high-street 140 firms were in a critical condition in the fourth quarter, meaning they are on the brink of collapse, while more than 13,700 were in "significant" distress - up 35% during the three months to December 17.