RETAILERS are preparing for the biggest Boxing Day spend-up for many years, with south-west businesses slashing prices by more than 50 per cent.
Several Warrnambool businesses anticipate pre-opening-hour queues as shoppers attempt to scoop up discounted white goods, jewellery, manchester, television sets and clothing.
Store owners told The Standard that today and tomorrow will be the biggest trading days, especially with the influx of holidaymakers expected to flood into the region later this afternoon.
Thomas Jewellers manager Peter McLauchlan said south-west shoppers had started to embrace the Boxing Day concept, following years of large-scale sales in Melbourne and Geelong.
He said many customers took advantage of cut-price Christmas merchandise, stocking up ahead of the 2014 festive season.
“It’s one of the busiest days of the year, not just for us but for a lot of businesses along Liebig Street,” Mr McLauchlan said.
“We anticipate that there’ll be a few people outside the doors at opening time like last year, although it’s a bit more civilised than Myer’s Boxing Day or the other big department store openings.”
Mr McLauchlan said some items at the jewellery store would be discounted by more than 50 per cent, with selected watches and diamond rings at the top of the list.
Ponting’s Hardware owner-manager Raelene Ponting said Boxing Day was traditionally a quiet sales day in the south-west until only four years ago.
She said the Lava Street business had discounted a range of items including outdoor furniture, cushions and Christmas decorations.
“Now it’s a day when people use their Christmas vouchers, take advantage of the sales,” Ms Ponting said. “It’s actually quite busy.
“Christmas 2013 has been a strong sales period, nearly 50 per cent up on last year.
“Shoppers have really got their confidence back and are shopping locally, which is good news for the local economy.”
Spotlight manchester department saleswoman Nicole McFadden said staff were expecting an influx of customers today before the busy tourist season.
She said the Raglan Parade store would have a special 12-hour opening time for Boxing Day customers.
“People who don’t normally go shopping on Boxing Day are surprised how busy it gets,” Ms McFadden said.
“Polyester-cotton quilt covers, dinner sets and Christmas goods are all discounted.”
Rauert’s Shoex owner-manager Peter Rauert expects summer sales to be strong once the store re-opens tomorrow.
“It’s becoming quite a busy time of year. There was a time when the last thing people wanted to do after Christmas was shop again,” Mr Rauert said.
“We’ll be holding a summer stock sale.
“Things like sandals, ladies summer shoes — they’ll all be pretty popular.”