Boxing Day bargains fuel a bonanza
Waikato retailers reap the rewards as shoppers dig deep and spend, spend, spend. Angela Cuming reports.
Waikato's Boxing Day bargain hunters parted with $9.5 million of their hard-earned cash - a whopping 16.8 per cent more than the $7.9 million spent in 2011.
Nationally, $120 million was spent as Kiwis made their way to the shops in the hope of picking up a post-Christmas bargain, up 13 per cent on last year.
The Waikato's massive spendup made the region one of the best performing in the country and backed up the craziness that was Hamilton's The Base shopping centre on Wednesday.
Tens of thousands converged on the country's largest mall, with security staff having to double as parking wardens. There were also reports of massive delays for people trying to get out of Hamilton and head north for the day.
Tainui Group Holdings owns the shopping centre and yesterday chief executive Mike Pohio said he was not surprised by the amount going through the region's tills.
He expected the final count of people through the precinct on Wednesday to top 50,000.
Until now the busiest day at the retail precinct was Boxing Day 2011, when 41,000 people shopped there.
"We are up about 10 per cent on this time last year, which is just a fantastic result for retailers," he said.
"We thought this year's Boxing Day sales would be busier than last year, but it's good to have the Paymark figures to confirm that.
"We have had fantastic crowds and they have really been able to take advantage of some bargains. Certainly the dollar has helped in that respect and retailers have been able to pass on savings to their customers."
Times readers took to Facebook yesterday to brag about their bargains, which ranged from clothes and books, to kitchen utensils and vacuum cleaners.
Paymark head of sales and marketing Paul Whiston said December as a whole had been a good month for retailers, with steady growth across most sectors and regions and a return to the kinds of figures seen pre-global financial crisis.
"[On Boxing Day] we saw over two million transactions and $120 million in sales through the network, $14.2 million up on Boxing Day last year. This is the first time in five years that we've seen double-digit growth and we're rapt for retailers.
"It's also great to see that some of the sectors, which have been lagging of late, experienced a real boost on Boxing Day and the queues and traffic outside the malls around the country were anecdotal evidence of this," he said.
Paymark saw significant growth in the electronics sector including computers and phones, with sales up 31.7 per cent annually.
The company, which processes about 75 per cent of all electronic transactions in New Zealand, also saw strong growth in clothing and apparel, and jewellery, up 20.7 per cent and 24.4 per cent respectively.
"Department stores saw an increase of 22.4 per cent, likely to be a reflection of the many great deals on offer for shoppers during the Boxing Day sales," Mr Whiston said.
Gisborne topped the list for the highest spending growth in the regions, up 22.9 per cent annually.