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Bargain hunters get dose of sales fever

By KIRAN CHUG

They were expecting car park wars, a battle for the biggest bargains and queues at the checkouts, but Boxing Day bargain hunters still braved the shops.

Trading yesterday appeared mixed with reports of busy shopping periods followed by lulls.

At Wellington’s Lyall Bay retail park, shoppers looking for bargains early in the day found their persistence rewarded, with many saying the crowds were not as bad as they had feared.

Retailers Association spokesman Barry Hellberg said the group had been expecting the turnout at this year’s Boxing Day sales to be on a par with last year.

Combined with Christmas sales, the period was expected to be “pretty modest” for retailers.

Although shoppers had slightly more money in the pockets as a result of tax cuts this year, they were still experiencing a slow recovery from the recession.

Retailers had advertised their Boxing Day sales heavily, and Mr Hellberg said there were big savings to be made for shoppers.

Paymark was unable to give sales figures from electronic transactions for yesterday’s sales, but Mr Hellberg said the figures for one day would show only part of the overall trend.

The post-Christmas sales would continue for days, if not weeks.

Kathmandu Lyall Bay manager Nick Cocker said this year’s Boxing Day was very similar to last year’s in terms of sales and customer numbers.

“It was up and down, with periods where the shop was heaving – and then we would look round and find we had a lull.”

The store had discounted items before Christmas, but further new reductions yesterday “paid off” in attracting shoppers, he said.

Last-minute camping items were popular with bargain hunters, and people spending their Christmas gift vouchers also kept staff busy.

Sylvie Verhaaren needed presents for her son’s birthday later in the week, and braved the crowds at The Warehouse.

However, she found the reductions were less than she had thought they would be, and the shops were not as busy as she had expected.

“I don’t think there’s much difference in the prices now and the week before Christmas. A lot was already on sale, but some things are 50 per cent off now and they were 40 per cent off before.”

Source: www.stuff.co.nz

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