The Invercargill city centre is buzzing with shoppers eager for a Boxing Day bargain.
Shop windows are advertising price cuts and customers are happy to spend their money on the many discounted products.
Kate Rowland, Cory Sparrow and six-year-old twins Lucy and Amilea Sparrow were among the crowd in town.
''This is our first time at the Boxing Day sales and it has been great,'' Ms Rowland said.
''There are bargains everywhere and the shops are chockers.''
She said the family was grabbing a few good deals on the Christmas presents they did not manage to get.
Mother and daughter Bronwyn Sadler and Rachel, 16, said the Boxing day sales were an annual event for them.
It was a good time for find a few bargains in the clothing stores.
''We don't come out with any specific budget or plan we just have a look at what deals are available,'' Mrs Sadler said.
It was great to see the city centre so busy with a really festive feeling, she said.
As shoppers hit the Boxing Day sales today some may have lost some of their zest for spending after a quieter-than-expected final countdown to Christmas.
Kiwis spent 4.1 per cent more in the first three weeks of December compared with last year, but retail payments network operator Paymark recorded a dip in pre-Christmas spending last week.
Chief executive Simon Tong says figures suggest many shoppers avoided a last-minute dash.
Wellington retailers appeared to fare worse than most in New Zealand, with spending after December 20 down 1.6 per cent.
Paymark, which processes more than three-quarters of electronic transactions in retail, said last week that national spending through its network from November 30 to December 20 totalled just over $3.2 billion - almost 5 per cent more than last year.
Nationwide, people spent less on books, electronics and sporting gear, but more on clothing, eating out and whiteware.
Retailers Association chief executive John Albertson said it was hard to pinpoint why spending growth had sloped off, but it was still positive that it was tracking up 3.4 per cent year on year.
He expected a strong finish to the year for retailers, with growth sitting fairly stable at 3 to 3.5 per cent.
- The Southland Times
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