Boxing Day sales have traditionally been a frenzy. Not so this year when bargain hunters kept their elbows to themselves and shopped relatively peacefully on Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall

While the Australian Retailers Association acknowledged that in-store traffic “may be declining this year,” there were still plenty of people around looking for a bargain

Katrina Bolmat and Kate Brown at David Jones in Bourke Street Mall on Boxing DayCredit: Paul Jeffers

Friends Kate Brown and Katrina Bolmat made an annual pilgrimage to the mall on Boxing Day, hoping to close a linen and shoes deal and maybe buy a new watch

“I think it was a lot more relaxed, not as mad as usual, people didn’t seem to be rushing around this year,” Ms. Brown said

“I think everyone kept a good social distance, we felt a bit cautious, but in the end it worked out well

“I think you have a little bit more for your dollar this year too, More for your money”

The Highpoint Shopping Center in Maribyrnong expected more than 130 by 23:00000 people through the doors

Vicinity Centers, which owns 66 centers across Australia, including Chadstone, Northland and DFO in Melbourne, introduced pandemic busting technology to manage crowds

Every shopping mall website has an interactive feature that is updated every 15 minutes and uses real-time data to show visitor numbers

Michael Whitehead, manager of Chadstone Mall, said his team worked closely with VicRoads in the lead up to Boxing Day to prevent scenes from last year where some bargain hunters were walking down deadlocked highways to the shops to reach

Mr Whitehead said he couldn’t give the exact numbers, but there are “really strong numbers” visiting the 250+ stores that had sales in the mall

Chadstone hired 140 cleaners to refurbish the mall on Boxing Day, 100 more than a normal trading day

A spokeswoman for David Jones said Boxing Day sales “were received with enthusiasm by customers across the country,” with small appliances and cookware being the most popular choices

Housewares, menswear and cosmetics were in high demand at Myer A spokesperson said customers have “proven again today that it really is one of the best times of the year to get a bargain”

The two healthcare workers, Ms. Brown and Ms. Bolmat, weighed the COVID-19 risks before traveling to Melbourne this year

Ms. Bolmat said she was comforted by forcing masks to be worn in the large department stores and temperature control in smaller retailers: “They have all done a good job under difficult circumstances.

“We had to think about whether we were down [COVID-19] is always something we are careful about, but our confidence came from the fact that we would go early and leave early [in front of the crowd]”” She said

“The number of people is definitely lower than normal, but people seem to be spending money – there are lots of people with grocery bags getting some bargains

The Australian Retailers Association, the country’s largest retail organization, has forecast shoppers to spend $ 19 billion in the post-Christmas period from Boxing Day to Jan. January

Around 4 US dollars According to Paul Zahra, the association’s chairman, 9 billion euros are to be spent in Victoria alone

He said there was “good momentum” in Christmas sales, referring to preliminary figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which showed a 13% year-over-year increase in retail sales in November

“For many retailers, 2020 was a year to forget So it’s fantastic to see people getting out and supporting local businesses, “said Zahra

“Shop traffic may be down this year as more consumers discover the convenience of online shopping

“However, retailers have done a fantastic job of ensuring their stores are COVID-safe and consumers can look forward to shopping safely as their safety comes first”

In Sydney, where the COVID-19 cluster on the northern beaches continues to grow and concerns about a cluster in the CBD remain, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said suburban retail centers were busier than expected after shoppers followed her advice had to stay away from boxing day sales In town

On Christmas Day, Ms. Berejiklian stopped shoppers from going to the annual sales event and dealt a blow to retailers

Ms. Berejiklian said there were record low crowds for sales at the CBD on Saturday morning and the community’s response to health advice to avoid the Pitt Street Mall area has been “very positive and overwhelming”

“Those who went to the CBD to shop wore a mask and we saw the numbers go down significantly compared to last year, which is exactly what we wanted to see,” she said

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Ashleigh McMillan is a breaking news reporter for The Age Do you have a story? Send me an email at amcmillan @ theagecomau

David Jones Boxing Day Sale

World News – AU – “Not as mad as usual”: Boxing day sales a quieter affair