Bargain hunters in a rush
A Blenheim retailer described yesterday's Boxing Day shopping spree as the busiest ever with hundreds of bargain hunters queued up before shops opened.
Hamish Thomas, of Thomas's on Market St, said any retailers that hadn't opened for Boxing Day would be "kicking themselves".
"The amount of people in town was astronomical," Mr Thomas said. "We had people lined up outside the doors."
Mr Thomas was surprised to see a few shops closed, he said.
The Warehouse Blenheim branch manager Ian Daubney said more than 300 people were queued outside the store when they opened. They started arriving at 7.30am, an hour before opening.
"When I opened the door I said to them, ‘Let me get out of the way'. It's been absolute bedlam."
The early morning rush was too much for some people, he said.
"They walked out as quick as they walked in, saying ‘This is too damn busy, I'll come back later'."
Strong sales on Boxing Day were expected, Mr Daubney said.
"Leading up to Christmas was good but we weren't on fire. We knew they were waiting for Boxing Day."
People were trying to "save their pennies" in tough economic times, he said. "People want the best bang for their buck."
Electrical goods, clothes, toys and camping equipment were flying out the door, he said.
Blenheim couple Patricia Karstens and Derek Stripling said the checkouts at The Warehouse were massive.
Ms Karstens got 40 per cent off a handbag she spotted before Christmas. "We don't normally do Boxing Day sales but it was worth waiting for."
You get a buzz from saving a few dollars, Mr Stripling said.
Renwick truck driver Darryl Emke was picking up a new television at Noel Leeming in Blenheim.
Mr Emke waited for Boxing Day and got 20 per cent off. "I went to The Warehouse earlier and that was crazy," he said. "I walked in and walked out. This is my first time out on Boxing Day and it might be the last. It's just madness."
Briscoes/Rebel Sports business manager Andrew White said he was surprised by the Boxing Day rush.
People were queued outside both stores, he said. "It was fantastic, we were flat out. Boxing Day [shopping] has become a bit of a tradition but I was still surprised at how busy we were."
Questions to the shoppers:
Reid McAlister, vineyard worker, Blenheim
"I waited to go shopping because it's cheaper after Christmas than before. I bought some clothes and [sun] glasses. I wasn't after anything in particular, I just wanted to see what they've got here. Hopefully the shops are open all day."
Kararaina King, production assistant, Blenheim
"There's quite a few bargains but it's still quite dear. I was looking for cheap clothes and shoes but Rebel Sports had run out of shoes. There were queues at 8.30am and most of the stuff was gone by 9.15am."
JB Thomas, manager, Blenheim
"I waited to miss the Christmas rush and get a few bargains but everybody seems to be out for the Boxing Day deals. I've just got some clothes and posters and now we're going kai shopping before work tonight."
Shirley Agnew, housewife, Blenheim
"We don't live far away so thought we would come into town to have a nosey. I bought a couple of things at The Warehouse and had to queue for 20 minutes. It was absolutely chaotic, people with huge baskets grabbing boxes of biscuits and things because they're so cheap."
- The Marlborough Express