Boxing Day saw $14m in sales
Canterbury retailers have enjoyed strong Boxing Day sales, raking in nearly $14 million in the immediate post-Christmas shopping day.
The region was a strong performer in the festive retail period, with Paymark sales figures showing national spending was up 12 per cent compared with Boxing Day last year.
Paymark, which processes about 75 per cent of all electronic transactions in New Zealand, handled millions of transactions worth $134.4m nationally - a $14.4m increase on last year.
Canterbury retailers took in $13.9m, with the region's 15.1 per cent Boxing Day increase being above the national average increase of 12 per cent.
Paymark head of sales and marketing, Paul Whiston, said Christmas Eve this year was Paymark's biggest day on record with $238.4m through the network nationally, up a strong 18.5 per cent on the same day in 2012.
''Not only did we see the highest value through the network ever, we also saw the highest number of transactions - at 4.35 million - and the largest number of transactions per second.''
Paymark had also seen the busiest Boxing Day reflecting high consumer confidence, he said.
On Christmas Eve food and liquor retailers saw strong sales, up 28 per cent on the year before trading day, and department stores saw a 23.2 per cent year on year increase.
"The huge queues seen at the supermarkets on Christmas Eve were certainly reflected in our stats for the day, as people rushed to get their fresh produce for Christmas lunches and dinners," Whiston said.
For Boxing Day it was the deals at clothing and jewellery stores, up 16.5 per cent on Boxing Day 2012, appliance and whiteware stores, up 16.6 per cent, electronics retailers, up 12 per cent that brought the shoppers in.
In addition, sporting and camping equipment outlets had particularly big days, both on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, up 20.2 per cent and 31.8 per cent respectively.
EARLY START FOR BARGAIN HUNTERS
Shoppers rose early to hunt for the best Boxing Day bargains at Christchurch's malls and shops.
At The Palms in Shirley, some stores opened at 7.30am to accommodate the early risers. Centre manager Simon Carter said Noel Leeming, Farmers and K-Mart all had queues of people waiting for the stores to open.
"As we expected, it is very busy and the centre is buzzing today, as people have flocked to the centre to make the most of the Boxing Day sales."
Westfield Riccarton's car park was full by 8.30am.
Dale Gallagher and Evelyn Tan were among those queuing in front of the Michael Hill jewellery store. Gallagher said they had come in early "because we're crazy".
Tan said she did not mind waiting for good discounts.
Westfield Riccarton manager Helen Ronald said shoppers were ready to crowd the centre when gates opened at 8am. Boxing Day was one of the busiest trading days of the year, she said.
Blair Potter and Jo Lyver were among the first shoppers to get in and scored a printer on special at Dick Smith. The couple said they had just bought a house and were hoping to find more bargains.
Dick Smith general manager Justin Waddell said Boxing Day was the biggest trading day of the year.
Bargain hunters queued in front of the Warehouse at Northlands from early morning.
A shopping centre spokeswoman said the centre had been busy but not chaotic.
"The atmosphere is quite pleasant and we're trading nicely," she said.
Shoppers also braved the drizzle at the Re:Start mall in the central city.
Ballantynes sales manager Liz Mills said Boxing Day was the "festive finale". She was delighted with the turnout.
An increase in trade had started this month and was still going strong, Mills said.
Paymark will release electronic transaction figures for Boxing Day today.
Pre-Christmas spending in Canterbury had risen more than 8 per cent on the same period last year.