As shoppers throng outside stores in Sydney after celebrating Christmas, analysts are expecting new records to be set in this year’s Boxing Day sales.
According to The Australian, the Australian Retail Association predicts $2.38 billion in sales on Boxing Day, with the most popular categories being clothing, electronics, and household goods. The thronging, waiting crowds represent a major opportunity for retailers, who have thrived recently thanks to increased consumer spending throughout the Australian economy.
While thousands of consumers physically visited stores while waiting for them to open, online sales, using promo codes to give big discounts, are also attracting customers who would rather not fight the long lines. Some stores offer their Boxing Day deals online even before they open their physical store, representing an additional opportunity to get in line for goods first.
Clashes Between Stores and Workers
But not everyone is celebrating the new record sales and the throngs of customers. Retail workers are clashing with their employers as they argue that stores should remain closed on Boxing Day.
Most stores used to be entirely closed on Boxing Day, but some states in Australia like New South Wales now permit stores to be open. Proponents claim the importance of the free market and the economic benefits of allowing stores to be open for an extra day. The Liberal Party in the city of Adelaide, which does restrict Boxing Day sales, declared that “If there are people who want to shop and traders who are open to sell, why shouldn’t they be allowed to?” Opponents argue that the extra day will not hamper the retail market and that retail workers should be allowed to rest on a holiday.
In New South Wales, Premier Mike Baird allowed stores to open on Boxing Day two years ago on the condition that their employees had to volunteer to work. But opponents argue that stores can easily pressure workers into coming in.
While a debate exists on whether to force stores to close on Boxing Day, shoppers will continue to look for the best deals. In addition to stores, hotels and restaurants are hoping to benefit from worn-out shoppers looking to rest after a day of hard shopping.