Record numbers attend Boxing Day sales
AUSTRALIANS started an $8 billion post-Christmas spending spree in record numbers yesterday as extra security stepped in to handle bargainhungry shoppers across the country.
Undeterred by interest rate rises or festive spending, shopper numbers on the first day of the post-Christmas sales were into the hundreds of thousands in Sydney and Melbourne — the highest levels ever reported by retailers.
Bumper crowds were also reported in Brisbane.
Australian National Retailers Association chief executive Margy Osmond said spending in the pre and post-Christmas period was expected to reach $33 billion nationally, up $3 billion from last year.
Ms Osmond said consumers would spend $8billion in the next fortnight. In Sydney, Myer’s Pitt St Mall store was forced to shut its doors to the public for half an hour just after noon to stop record crowds getting in.
Fewer than 1000 shoppers queued up outside David Jones and Myer when doors opened at 7am but by lunchtime, hundreds of thousands of consumers crammed into Pitt St Mall.
Police and security guards were stationed outside the store to control aggressive shoppers trying to push their way in.
Myer spokesman Nick Abboud said he was expecting about 200,000 shoppers to pass through the Sydney store by the end of the day. David Jones spokesman Paul Zahra said it was anticipating the same numbers.
In Melbourne, about 5000 shoppers were through the doors of Melbourne’s shopping mecca at Chadstone by 8am, a record for that time of morning on Boxing Day.
Police had to close the Middle Road entrance to the shopping centre carpark for about 15 minutes at 11.30am.
Designer shoes and bags were among the most popular items at David Jones in Bourke St in Melbourne’s CBD.
Store manager Jason McVicar said customers were lining up at 5.30am before Australian singer/actor Holly Valance rang a bell to signal the opening of trading at 7am.
‘‘They went straight to women’s shoes, and nationally we will sell about 200,000 pairs of women’s shoes over our clearance,’’ Mr McVicar said.
The scenes were replicated in Brisbane, where eager shoppers lined up outside stores at 9am.