Waikato retailers brace for Boxing Day

NARELLE HENSON AND JENNA LYNCH
Last updated 10:31 26/12/2013

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Boxing Day madness is here - and retailers are gearing up for their biggest day of the year.

Boxing Day bargain hunters have already descended on The Base Te Awa bright and early in the hope of snapping up a deal.

By 10am traffic was backed up on Avalon Drive, Waiere Drive and Te Rapa straight, where queues have been growing since 9am.

Extra car parking has already been made available at the shopping centre and traffic management systems are in place.

Group managing director Rod Duke of Briscoe Group , which includes Briscoes, Living and Giving, and Rebel Sport stores, said it was traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year.

"It's huge. It's the biggest day, and it's the biggest day by a fair way, and we have some very, very, very big days leading up to Christmas."

He said gift vouchers were probably the cause of the rush.

"I think that's probably the primary motivator and what's got people, certainly in most recent years, out of their homes and into the shops on Boxing Day."

He said NRL supporters' gear had been hugely popular in the leadup to Christmas, and he expected that trend to continue.

Kathmandu spokesman Paul Stern said Boxing Day was one of its biggest days of the year.

"We have three major sales per year - Boxing Day, Christmas and winter - and yes, it is one of our big sales for the year."

He said seasonal items on sale had been popular leading up to Christmas, and would probably remain so as Kathmandu sales currently focused on these items.

Although the store's online presence was growing, he didn't expect it to outdo brick and mortar shopping on Boxing Day any time soon.

"Many people will purchase product through our Kathmandu website in addition to shopping in stores."

Bunnings general manager Jacqui Coombes said its sales tended to hold steady over Boxing Day.

"I think people tend to go to malls and other places rather than home improvement. We really see an uptake leading up to Christmas. It's . . . people getting their homes ready for Christmas."

Bunnings will continue its offer to better any other price by 15 per cent, rather than putting on its own sale. However, Ms Coombes said Boxing Day customers seemed to be focused on other consumer goods.

"I think as well a lot of people just like to go out, it is a tradition, and who doesn't like a bargain?"

Paymark figures released before Christmas showed December sales increasing again, on the back of a sluggish third week of the month.

Transactions reached a peak rate of 148 per second at 12.24pm on Christmas Eve, compared to 132 on Christmas Eve last year.

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Monday was the second-highest spending day ever recorded by the company, which processes threequarters of electronic transactions in New Zealand. Paymark figures showed that $235 million went through retailers' tills on December 23.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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