Ruck and mall for bargain hunters

Boxing Day shoppers at Centre City
Boxing Day shoppers at Centre City

Boxing Day spending was in full swing in New Plymouth yesterday with some shoppers browsing sale items for almost three hours in one store.

Three German tourists found themselves caught up in the festive season retail whirlwind in their four-day visit to Taranaki.

"Boxing Day sales, we never heard of that, what is that?" Patrik Schmidt said.

"We decided to just go shopping."

After three hours in Harvey Norman the trio had a new phone, iPhone case and MacBook among them.

Mr Schmidt said the exchange rate meant a better deal than back home.

"It's very cheap."

Centre City was also bustling with Boxing Day spenders, although one shopper was not impressed by the sales.

"You can't find much of a bargain, no more than before Christmas," Tania Burge said.

Her children were looking to spend their Christmas money, but a trip to the toy stores revealed the prices were the same as before Christmas.

Mrs Burge said they were heading to Rebel Sports in The Valley where there was a good sale on.

Another group of bargain hunters had already been to The Valley and decided the mobs were not worth the effort.

"There were people parking on the lawn," Horiana Jacobs said.

They had found plenty of bargains at Centre City, she said.

Meredith Bool, head chef at Lush Cafe & Gelato, summed up the Christmas period with three words.

"It's been nuts."

She said Boxing Day was the cafe's busiest of the year.

"You'd think people would have had enough of eating and drinking, but no."

She said gelato sales were up as a result of the hot weather.

Centre City manager Ernie Heath said it had been a chaotic Boxing Day and there were more shoppers than last year.

He said the crowds peaked about 11am then settled down in the afternoon.

Foot traffic had been up 3 per cent from last year in the week leading up to Christmas and he expected Boxing Day would be up about 5 per cent.

The retailers he had already spoken to were reporting higher sales than last year.

The centre had assistants in the car park but even then it was a struggle to cope with the hordes arriving, he said.

"It's just been crazy, but wonderfully busy. There's a few tired staff."

Figures from Paymark, which processes more than three-quarters of all retail electronic transactions, show just more than $3.2 billion was spent between November 30 and December 20 across the country. That was $150 million more than for the equivalent period last year.

Taranaki Daily News