New Zealand splashes out at Boxing Day sales

Retailers received a significant late Christmas present, with Kiwis piling into stores around the country for the Boxing Day sales.

Spending was up 13.4 per cent nationally compared with the same day last year, Paymark figures have revealed.

Gisborne experienced a massive 22.9 per cent increase on their 2011 Boxing Day showing, the largest rise in the country, while Palmerston North and Taranaki/Taupo saw 18 per cent rises.

Paymark head of sales and marketing Paul Whiston said the strong Boxing Day numbers were the final touch on an already positive December.

“Yesterday, we saw over two million transactions and $120 million in sales through the network, $14.2 million up on Boxing Day last year.

‘‘This is the first time in five years that we’ve seen double digit growth and we’re rapt for retailers.

“It’s also great to see that some of the sectors which have been lagging of late experienced a real boost on Boxing Day.”

The electronics sector – including computers and phones – leapt in the sales, up 31.7 per cent.

Paymark, which processes about 75 per cent of all electronic transactions in New Zealand, also saw strong growth in clothing and jewellery, up 20.7 per cent and 24.4 per cent respectively.

Most department stores offered large discounts on the Boxing Day, traditionally the most heavily discounted day of the year.

Big chains like Farmers and The Warehouse were offering 10-50 per cent off, and Briscoes offered 30-60 per cent discounts.

Wellington landmark Kirkaldie & Stains opened yesterday for the first time ever on Boxing Day, with the store cutting prices between 10 and 30 per cent.

‘‘It was too big an opportunity to be missed. We made the plunge ... it was inevitable,’’ managing director John Milford said.

The big Boxing Day results followed a quieter-than-expected Christmas lead-up, with spending after December 20 down 1.6 per cent.

But the rebound was a welcome one for retailers, Mr Whiston said.

“Department stores saw an increase of 22.4 per cent, likely to be a reflection of the many great deals on offer for shoppers.’’

“All of the regions saw good growth on Boxing Day but the smaller regions in particular have faired extremely well, with Palmerston North up 18.3 per cent and Taranaki/Taupo up 18.2 per cent – just behind Gisborne.’’

The Dominion Post