News National Boxing Day sales 2013: Your essential guide
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Boxing Day sales 2013: Your essential guide

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We’re a nation of big spenders this Christmas

Soon, Australia will witness a show of intense stamina, determination and focus. No, we’re not talking about the Australian Open … we’re talking about the Boxing Day sales.

When the gluttony of Christmas is well and truly over, hit the shops to burn off those calories and score some bargains you won’t see again all year.

Except this year, you can actually shop pre-gluttony. The major department stores are starting their sales online from 9am Christmas Day.

Australians are predicted to spend up to $15.1 billion over the Boxing Day sales period to mid-January — up 3.8 per cent from last year.

According to Myer, that includes sales of 50 business shirts a minute on the first day, 60,000 shoes in the first week and 500,000 intimate apparel items.

Retailers have gotten wise … and they know they need to have the best bargains wherever their consumer is, online or offline.

Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman told The New Daily a lower dollar, stable federal government and rising consumer confidence had the retail sector looking “better than we’ve seen for a number of years”.

Online retailers agreed more sales were staying within Australia with pre-Christmas their biggest boom time.

eBay Australia trend watcher Megan English said the site’s biggest day of this year was Sunday December 8 — two weeks before Christmas.

“That’s always true, not that particular day but pre-Christmas is always much bigger for eBay and our retail partners than post-Christmas sales,” Ms English said.

On December 8, 2.3 million people visited the site — a 25 per cent increase on last year’s biggest day. On Boxing Day, 1.8 million people are expected to visit.

Shoppers queue outside Myer's Pitt Street, Sydney store on Boxing Day morning, 2012.
Shoppers queue outside Myer’s Pitt Street, Sydney store on Boxing Day morning, 2012.

Ms English said “there is still a big place for online” during Boxing Day sales. Technology in particular was highly sought after online, with anything Apple “flying off the online shelves”.

“It’s down to mobile. People are using their hand held device to make sure they get a good bargain,” she said.

“I don’t think consumers are shopping anymore thinking it’s about online or offline, I think all of the retailers have gotten wise to that and they know they need to have the best bargains wherever their consumer is, online or offline.”

With consumers on the hunt for pre-Christmas sales, bricks and mortar have followed suit. Harvey Norman has slashed the prices on tablets excluding Apple. Department stores have significant discounts, including 20 per cent off toys at Myer until close tonight.

Mr Zimmerman says this is part of the post global financial crisis norm, with this year an improvement.

“If you go back to when we had the GFC, during the first week of December we were seeing 60-70 per cent off goods.

“So is it any worse than previous years? I think there’s actually less discounting, but most retailers go out pre-Boxing Day to try capture those people buying last minute Christmas presents.”

If you want a true Boxing Day bargain that you won’t get again, Mr Zimmerman’s advice is to head to your local, independent retailer which, unlike larger chains, won’t discount during the year.

“I think that’s where you’ll see shops, and it’s not limited to one product, it could be furniture, bedding, a dress, but those independent stores don’t tend to go on sale.”

You can get in early with a pre-Christmas bargain or by hopping online, but as Mr Zimmerman says: “You can save yourself the crush, but I don’t think there’s anything like when you go into all those stores and there’s all the people around.”

And they're off! Shoppers rush into David Jones in Sydney on Boxing Day, 2012.
And they’re off! Shoppers rush into David Jones in Sydney on Boxing Day, 2012.

So if the crush is for you, here’s where to go and what to fight for.

David Jones 

Sale starts: Online at 9am Christmas Day. In store from 5am Boxing Day.

Discounts on: There are discounts store wide. Full details after 6pm tonight.

Locations: Boxing Day: All stores. SA – Adelaide only. NSW restricted. December 27: All stores.

Go there for: Big ticket item discounts.

Myer 

Sale start: Online 9am Christmas Day. In store from 5am Boxing Day.

Discounts on: There are discounts store wide. Full details after 6pm tonight.

Locations: Boxing Day: All stores. SA – Adelaide only. NSW restricted. December 27: All stores.

Go there for: A one stop shop – use your gift voucher straight away. We’ll reveal the best discounts at 6pm December 24.

Sambag 

Sale starts: 20th December

Discounts on: Up to 30% off on ballet flats, sandals, wedges, heels, clothing and bags.

Locations: NSW — Woollahra, Chatswood, Westfield Sydney; VIC — Chadstone, Albert Park, Prahran; WA — Claremont; QLD —Brisbane

Go there for: A sweet, summery pair of leather sandals or ballet flats for yourself, your mum, your sister or your significant other.

Kathmandu

Sale starts: Now on!

Discounts on: Pretty much all stock during the “Christmas Adventure Sale” with up to 60 per cent off. There is now a further 20 per cent off the sale price.

Locations: Nationwide. Full list here.

Go there for: Savvy adventure gear, backpacks, and wet and dry weather hiking gear for your next Everest attempt or to stay warm at the local footy.

How to survive the Boxing Day sales

Bring water and snacks: Ensure you maintain your energy by bringing your own supplies. There will be queues at most places, and stopping to buy lunch or a beverage could waste valuable shopping time.

Plan ahead: Take a list of what you really need and a list of what you want. Tick off things on the need list before you get to what you want. That way, if you haven’t broken the budget and come across a great discount, you can indulge without guilt.

Don’t let bargains break you: Just because it’s half price, doesn’t mean it’s good value. Look at the item before you look at the price tag to determine whether or not you genuinely like it.

Take public transport: At large shopping centres and malls, the car parks will be full by 9am. Avoid traffic gridlock by taking the train, bus or tram, or better yet, get a family member to drive and drop you.

Don’t take the kids: They don’t need to be there, it will be stressful and tiring and overwhelming. They have just had a big day and probably want to stay home and enjoy their gifts. Let them.

Don’t lose your cool: Maintain sympathy for the long-suffering sales assistants who serve you. While bad service is unacceptable, you will get a better response if you are patient, polite and aware that things may take a bit longer due to the crowds.

And one final piece of advice from Russell Zimmerman: “You have to be careful when you talk about the biggest savings, if you buy something and it’s of no use to you – it’s not a saving at all.”

-with Melissa Mack

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