Bargain hunters flock to the malls

By Amy McGillivray, Joseph Aldridge


Tauranga shoppers were out in force to take advantage of Boxing Day sales yesterday.

With many retailers offering big discounts to try offload surplus stock, eager consumers descended on shopping centres to find themselves some bargains.

Big retailers such as Hallensteins, Farmers, Briscoes and Harvey Norman were offering discounts up to 60 per cent.

The lure of such big savings made Boxing Day the busiest day of the year, Bayfair duty manager Duane Beamsley said.

The pre-Christmas rush was the second busiest time of the year, he added.

Figures released by Paymark show electronic spending in the Bay of Plenty rose steadily over the December period,

Bay shoppers spent $221.6 million in the three weeks ending December 23 (a 2.7 per cent increase on last year) and $14.3m on Christmas Eve (a 6.3 per cent increase on last year).

Keen customers were lined up outside the doors when they opened at 8am, and were still filling the centre at 5 o'clock yesterday, Mr Beamsley said.

"The shopping centre's just thriving. It's really alive - a ball of activity.

Mr Beamsley has worked on Boxing Day for the past four years but said it felt like yesterday was busier than the last.

"It's just a mad house."

Finding parking was pretty tough and shoppers were walking some way to get to the mall, he said.

Maungatapu woman Jewell Russell was pushing a shopping trolley full of bargains when spoken to by the Bay of Plenty Times reporter.

"I think a lot of people give money and vouchers for Christmas so it's at the Boxing Day specials that you can spend your Christmas money."

The crowded mall made her eager to return home but her kids loved the busy atmosphere, she said.

However, not everybody was enjoying themselves at Bayfair.

Shane Griffin, of Windermere, was sitting by the children's play area waiting for his wife and kids to finish shopping.

"I'm just looking after their stuff while they're shopping," he said.

"I just got dragged along here, I wish I never came."

Retailers around the city were happy to see the crowds of eager shoppers. Cotton On Papamoa manager Ariane Altments said the day had been "really crazy" with hundreds of people visiting the store.

Staff and shoppers were in a good mood and making the most of the day, she said.

"We've got a cool vibe. It's not stressful it's just really busy."

Mrs Altments said her store was busy but on the whole Fashion Island was nowhere near as hectic as Bayfair.

Meanwhile, thousands of people were taking to Trade Me to sell unwanted Christmas gifts.

More than 20,000 items were listed on the online auction site between 9am on Christmas morning and 9am on Boxing Day, said Trade Me spokesperson Paul Ford. Mr Ford said there were "regular offenders" who routinely turned up onsite having missed the mark on Christmas Day.

"These are often over-ambitious purchases on the lingerie front by men and women, and items like books, ties, handbags and kitchen appliances all commonly crop up," he added.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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