The Boxing Day sales are set to top off an enthusiastic festive season of shopping this year.
December 26 remains one of the biggest days in the shopping year as people head out to spend Christmas money and, after a sharp lift in pre-Christmas spending, expectations of big spending are high.
Paymark figures show that on Christmas Eve, eftpos transactions hit an all-time high of 148 per second at 12.24pm as shoppers rushed to buy food and last-minute gifts.
Almost $3.6 billion has passed through the tills this December and spending for the first three weeks of December was up 6.9 per cent on the same time last year.
Last Boxing Day was a strong one for retailers, spending was up 13.4 per cent on 2011.
But for those looking for a real bargain, trawling online for unwanted Christmas gifts may be a better option.
TradeMe was already packed with unwanted gifts by lunchtime on Christmas Day.
A Wooly Mammoth coat, perfumed body cream, a magnetic underlay and Valerie Adams' biography were some of the first gifts to be put up.
There was also a remote control inflatable dolphin listed in Christchurch, which the seller was shedding because they already had one.
A Rotorua vendor, "noelsbreeze", may struggle to find buyers for his item, listed as the "Worst Christmas Present Ever?"
He received a sampler box of biscuits that went stale five months ago.
Noel said he had been abstaining from biscuits for a year for health reasons but he decided to have one after receiving the box in return for an "unsolicited act of kindness to a stranger".
Unfortunately, when he opened the box he found only stale, broken and melted biscuits.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs says any items bought in a sale are still eligible for refunds and are covered by the usual guarantees of quality and matching the product description.
But people did not have the right to return items just because they had changed their minds - or did not like the gift.
Shops may have an exchange policy but it was wise to check before buying, the ministry said.
- The Dominion Post