Bargain hunters hot-foot it to sales
Manic, is how shoppers and retailers describe Boxing Day buying in Nelson.
On the hot day all the city car parks were full and at times it was hard to walk along Trafalgar St because of the crowds.
Most people had a bag of discounted shopping in hand, while men stood waiting patiently outside stores for other family members.
At the Warehouse the car park was also full, with cars banked up waiting for pedestrians to flock into the store.
Rai Valley dairy farmer Mike Nixon came especially to buy a discounted television yesterday and walked out with a 46-inch screen reduced from $1300 to $600. He said he had been after one for a while and waited for the bargain.
Nelson signwriter Pete Madsen bought an 18-speed bike for $149. He had also been after one for a while for his Brazilian exchange student.
The Warehouse Nelson manager Andrew Ackers said Boxing Day was one of the top three trading days of the year. The two days before Christmas were also busy but it felt busier yesterday, he said. "It's been a good day."
It also seemed busier than last year's Boxing Day, judging by the number of shoppers in the store, he said. "And much warmer."
The men were buying up TVs, camping and fishing gear, while women were buying across the board, he said.
Despite sales online becoming more popular every year, customers still came out for the big discounts, he said. "We've got New Year sales coming up as well."
Cushla Moir came from Brightwater and bought a 30 per cent discounted deck chair and sandals from Rebel Sport in Nelson before going camping at Ruby Bay. "It was 10-deep at the counter, it was manic," she said.
She believed Boxing Day sales were over-rated. "There's always going to be another 30 per cent sale," she said.
In Trafalgar St, Hogeys Surf was offering 20 to 70 per cent and the shop was full from opening at 9am.
"It's manic," said owner John Hogan, who was surprised some stores hadn't opened until 10am.
He said his business did well pre-Christmas with sales slightly up on last year, and his Boxing Day sale pipped that. "The good weather is helping."
Visitors to Nelson, Lee and Karen Patterson from Hamilton were shopping instead of going to the beach. "We were supposed to be going to Kaiteriteri but we didn't because there were supposed to be thunderstorms."
Stacey Gibb from Christchurch with Chrissy Wyse from Perth could not get into a winery so went shopping.
Miss Wyse, wearing jeans because she hadn't expected it to be warm in Nelson, bought a dress and shorts at Glassons, while Mrs Gibb bought a sunhat. "In this hot weather I got cooked yesterday," she said. "Everybody is coming out in droves. There's something about Boxing Day, and people have Christmas vouchers to spend."
Mr Hogan said: "It's like a festive carnivale. You don't get that online shopping. Some enjoy, some don't. It's like the difference between watching a circus on telly and going to it."
Richmond Mall was crazy yesterday, said centre manager David Hill.
"It was a brilliant day for retail, and one of the better Boxing Days we've had for a number of years," said Mr Hill.
A record number of gift vouchers had sold in the leadup to Christmas and many of those were redeemed yesterday, he said.
Foot traffic at the mall for the month up to Christmas Eve was up 9 per cent on last year.
"Because Christmas fell on Tuesday, we had not just one busy day but four or five."