Consumer rights

Record Boxing Day sales expected as shoppers undeterred by COVID

The Boxing Day sales frenzy is underway as shoppers flood major retailers across the country in search of bargains.

Shoppers lined the streets outside department stores early this morning, lining up hoping to grab the first deals of the day.

Face masks and social distancing were a constant in queues, with shoppers stopping only briefly to check in before rushing inside.

“This is my first year. I was thinking 6 am, come in before the crowds and avoid COVID,” said a shopper who researched the shoes.

“I’m here for the bras and the shoes, I get there early and then I get back to the family before they wake up,” said one client, who used to come with her mother every year.

Some dedicated shoppers got up before the sun to line up for Boxing Day sales.(ABC News)

“I feel like we can see everything first and I can see them in person. It’s better than online because when you go online you can’t really smell them or see how much. point they are big, “said another buyer.

A shopper shopping for school shoes said the secret is to arrive early to beat the afternoon crowds.

“People think it’s crazy here early in the morning, but it actually isn’t. The lines can seem really long, but once you get into the big buildings it’s really. easy, ”she said.

“Finally, finally!” came the cry when the doors were opened to a flood of people at 6 a.m.

Buyers line up with face masks
The presence of COVID still weighed on the queues early in the morning.(ABC News)

Despite lingering concerns about the increase in COVID cases across the country, retailers remain confident that shoppers looking for a bargain will not be deterred.

Australian Retailers Association chief executive Paul Zahra believes Australians are more COVID-savvy in their shopping habits than ever before.

“Based on last year, we saw people coming and going and shopping,” Zahra said.

“They were of course more cautious, wearing masks and social distancing, and we will see a record number of online sales.”

Shoppers line up to enter a store
Sydney shoppers started lining up at Myer early Sunday morning, hoping to be among the first allowed into the store.(ABC News)

Australians are expected to spend $ 21 billion during the Boxing Day sales period from December 26 to January 15, a 12.6% increase from pre-pandemic years.

Zahra believes long lockdowns and “forced savings” of money in states that have gone without retail purchases for months have contributed to the explosion in demand.

“During the many lockdowns in Victoria in particular, we saw this massive and pent-up demand that was created,” he said.

“Now that people can travel, they are looking to spend that money.”

National Retail Association (NRA) projections predict Victorians to spend $ 892 million in stores, a 4% increase from last year.

Customers outside a store in a shopping center
Retailers expect heavy spending in states that experienced long lockdowns in 2021.(ABC News: Rudy de Santis)

The NRA also predicted that Queensland would see an increase in its sales figures on Boxing Day, despite avoiding longer lockdowns this year.

“Buyers and retailers can expect massive crowds on Boxing Day in Queensland,” said NRA chief executive Dominique Lamb.

“[Queensland] consumers are expected to spend $ 495 million on Boxing Day, an increase of about 6% from last year’s figures. “

Buyers line up around a building
Retail sales this year are expected to exceed sales in 2020, despite the increase in COVID cases.(AAP: Mick Tsikas)

Buyers are welcome to know their refund rights

Boxing Day bargain hunters are being asked to familiarize themselves with their consumer rights when looking for a refund.

Consumer Affairs Victoria reported more than 5,000 reimbursement rights-related contacts this fiscal year, more than double the number of contacts recorded in the year before the pandemic.

Under Australian consumer law, all buyers are entitled to a remedy if an item is found to be defective.

If the item cannot be repaired, you are entitled to a refund or replacement, even if it was purchased on sale or online.

Victoria’s Consumer Secretary Melissa Horne said rights-aware shoppers would take the stress out of the Boxing Day rush.

“It has been another tough year for consumers and retailers, so it’s important for everyone to know the policies when shopping this sale season to prevent a deal from turning into a disappointment,” Ms. Horne said.