Shoppers flock for sale bargains

By Sam Boyer

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Locals young and old were out in force searching for post-Christmas bargains, causing traffic jams, retail queues and congested shopping malls.

The shoppers flocked to their favourite stores and shopping centres, taking advantage of the huge Boxing Day sales on offer.

Craig Lawler, manager of JB Hi-Fi in Bayfair shopping centre, said this year's Boxing Day rush surpassed expectations.

"It's busier than last year. This is as busy as it gets. There's a lot of bodies here but it's not a lot of stress - people are happy," he said.

There were queues outside the store when it opened at 8am.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

And the result was a much more frenetic retail experience than any of the shopping days in the lead-up to Christmas, Mr Lawler said.

Once items were chosen from the shelves, there was a 10-minute wait in the queue to be served.

"This would be double what we got on Christmas Eve. You've got to make it worthwhile for people. If they're going to go through the pain of lining up, it's got to be worth the wait," he said.

Bayfair centre manager Steve Ellingford said it was likely shops throughout the mall would have had a good revenue day, although figures for foot traffic and income would not be known until the new year.

"It's as big as last year, so that's positive. I've spoken to retailers and they say it's very positive too," he said. Mr Ellingford said it was a good end to a productive month.

And with the increased numbers through the doors, extra crime had seemed to have been averted, he said.

"When you have more people there's more problems. [But] this year we haven't noticed any change. There's no feedback saying it's getting worse.

"In December we had a strong start and that built up to Christmas. It was very big," he said.

The Chapel St shopping complex was similarly busy, with shoppers making the most of the huge sales on offer at Rebel Sport and Briscoes.

Cars trying to turn into the carpark were queued in both directions on Chapel St.

In Mount Maunganui, business was strong too. Mount Surf Shop owner Redge Spiers agreed it was a bumper Boxing Day.

"It was very busy. It's a sunny day and people are on their summer holidays ... and they're generously spending. It's marginally up on last year - so it's good, we're happy," he said.

The day saw big sales in surf boards and skateboards, he said, as well as clothing and everything else "right across the board".

Paymark confirmed sales figures were up on last year for the lead-up to Christmas, and indications are that Boxing Day too could see an annual increase.

Shopper Inder Singh, from the Avenues, was happy to spend some money on extras in the wake of Christmas but had to contend with a lot of people to do so.

"Everywhere is busy. It's just a crazy day with the Boxing Day sales. I don't know why everyone is so crazy," he said.

In the city centre, consumer numbers were also up. But many stores in Grey St ignored the lure of shoppers determined to spend and chose instead to stay closed.

Marcus Hildyard said it was hectic and decided instead to wait outside Supre as his girlfriend shopped inside. "It's pretty chaotic inside those lady shops. I've been in [but] it gets too much. There's too many people, loud music and bright lights," he said.

For Friday, December 23, of this year compared with December 24 last year - both days the Friday before Christmas - spending in the Bay of Plenty was up 1.8 per cent. with Genevieve Helliwell

- Bay of Plenty Times

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