It was a beautiful Boxing Day to be outside but the lure of heavy discounts was too strong thousands who paced the malls on the hunt for a bargain.

Stores controlled crowds with barricades and hefty security guards at one of the country's largest malls, St Lukes, but shoppers seemed to be well-behaved and in good spirits.

While the mall was heaving, shop workers spoken to by the Herald said the rush was steady but better than expected.

Plus the carparks turned over quickly with bargain-hunters reporting not waiting more than 10 minutes for a space.

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Erin Culleton, 25, and Aaron Goddard, 30, got to the centre about 10am, found a park easily to knock off their shopping lists.

"It was a quick in and out, really," said Goddard.

They each got themselves a pair of shoes at Platypus which offered items up to 70 per cent off.

Culleton was especially pleased with her clothing purchases from Decjuba which boasted 50 per cent off a lot of its stock.

Co-ordinator of Kmart St Luke's, Vijay Padala, said by about 1pm it has seen 1500 people through its doors today.

But the busiest time was between 10am and 10.30pm with the surge easing by midday.

Staff were coping with the crowds well, Padala said.

But the sales weren't for everyone.

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Ricky Lim, of Browns Bay, was sitting, playing Candy Crush on his phone while his wife, Anie, and son, Richard, hit the shops for two hours. "It's boring," he said.

The family got to the mall at 9am and Ricky Lim said they had to wait up to 10 minutes to get a park.

As he was talking to the Herald, his family returned with their arms full of Farmers bags. Anie Lim said her favourite thing amongst the bargains was the underwear and socks.

Meanwhile, the Mt Roskill Harvey Norman heaved as punters filled their boots on heavily discounted electronics and Ultra HD televisions selling for only $697.

One Mt Albert man said he was "stoked" with a handbeater he purchased for well under half price while a cashier said $15 rice cookers had been popular and microwaves had also been selling well.

Shoppers in Te Rapa and Mount Maunganui are out in force to catch a Boxing Day nbargain

The shopping frenzy wasn't limited to Auckland's boundaries with the Hamilton Toy World packing out from 9am.

Boxing Day and 23 December had been the Te Rapa's store's busiest days.

Meanwhile The Base assistant centre manager Karl Sawyer said shoppers started arriving from 7am and pedestrian numbers were slightly up on last year's Boxing Day while traffic numbers were the same, he said.