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Stores quiet as Covid keeps Boxing Day crowds at bay



What is usually a frenzied Christmas tradition was a much more low-key affair in Bourke Street Mall, despite the Australian Retail Association predicting a record $21bn would be spent nationwide during the summer shopping splurge.However, shoppers were pleased to see fewer crowds, and some say the more relaxed atmosphere may have resulted in their wallets becoming lighter than they anticipated.“It’s pretty quiet inside which is better for me, the atmosphere was good, it made me a little more relaxed” said Wayne Dunne, who bought a handful of polo shirts that were on sale for half price.“Last year I came down and didn’t buy anything.”The 72-year old said while he was concerned about the pandemic, he always exercised caution when he was among big crowds.“Covid was on my mind, but I always wear a mask and do the right thing,” he said.While Covid-19 was on the mind of many shoppers, it was not enough to deter Fabian and Marisa Rosin who were searching for “anything but everything” during the sales.“We are double vaxxed and at the end of the day, everyone is going to get it,” Fabian said.“If we do the right thing we are going to be ok.”Other bargain hunters said they were preparing for a major spending spree this Boxing Day.“I’m going all in, I’ve got a bag full of cash here,” said Debi Ranali who showed up bright and early for deals on perfume, clothing, and handbags.“I’ve come for the bargains, (the shopping) is all for myself, it is my birthday in a couple of days.”Some had already engaged in some much-needed retail therapy by the early morning.“I bought two pairs of shoes, lingerie, and a makeup and face cleansing set,” said Anna Masternak .“So far I’ve gone up to $300, I wasn’t planning to spend that, but I got a good deal on the shoes.”Despite seeing fewer customers throughout the morning, retailers remain confident there will be steady traffic throughout the day.“We are expecting great trade,” said Magna Combrinck, Regional Sales Manager at David Jones, who expects a million customers will shop at the retailer’s outlets around the country today.Ms Combrinck said the pivot to online sales has influenced the way that bargain hunters now shop in store.“A lot of customers have done online research, customers can come into our stores, and are very prepared and know what they want,” she said.“It’s been great to be back open and see our customers back in store”.

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