Boxing Day sales: Shoppers flood Karrinyup, CBD in search of bargains

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Sarah StegerThe West Australian
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Noah Schuetz queued from 2am and slept on a rubber mat to be one of the first in StreetX.
Camera IconNoah Schuetz queued from 2am and slept on a rubber mat to be one of the first in StreetX. Credit: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

Perth shoppers armed with face masks and bottles of hand sanitiser shrugged off fears of catching COVID-19 to indulge in some post-Christmas retail therapy.

Crowds descended on the newly-redeveloped Karrinyup Shopping Centre from 8am on Sunday, flooding popular stores like Sephora, Zara, JB Hi-Fi and LEGO to bag a Boxing Day bargain.

Masks and rising COVID cases did little to deter the shoppers, who were expected to spend $2.9 billion in store and a further $1.2 billion online across Australia on December 26.

Perth mum Melissa Graham took her two daughters Chelsea, 20, and Sophie, 15, to check out some of the slashed prices — in a bid to escape the extreme heatwave sizzling outside.

“The boys are watching the basketball, so we’re here cooling off in the air conditioning,” Ms Graham said, laughing.

Sophie, Chelsea and Melissa Graham shopping in Sephora during the Boxing Day sales at Karrinyup Shopping Centre.
Camera IconSophie, Chelsea and Melissa Graham shopping in Sephora during the Boxing Day sales at Karrinyup Shopping Centre. Credit: Matt Jelonek/Matt Jelonek

Fellow Sephora enthusiast Divya Raj took her friend Yasmita Haripersad to the mega store for the 27-year-old’s first Boxing Day event.

“I’ve never gone shopping on Boxing Day before, but Divya asked me to go with her, so here we are,” Ms Haripersad told The West Australian. “It’s pretty fun!”

Ruby Harris looking selecting a computer monitor in JB-HiFi at the Boxing Day sales at Karrinyup Shopping Centre.k
Camera IconRuby Harris looking selecting a computer monitor in JB-HiFi at the Boxing Day sales at Karrinyup Shopping Centre.k Credit: Matt Jelonek/Matt Jelonek

Ruby Harris arrived at the mall more prepared than most, in the hopes of avoiding unnecessary spending.

“It’s all practical and necessary purchases for us today,” she said as she and her partner sifted through a collection of items for her new “work-from-home office set-up”.

“I got some bedsheets too, but everything else, like clothes, that’ll get done online,” she said.

A general view of JB-HiFi on Boxing Day sales at Karrinyup Shopping Centre.
Camera IconA general view of JB-HiFi on Boxing Day sales at Karrinyup Shopping Centre. Credit: Matt Jelonek/Matt Jelonek

The Australian Retailers Association has estimated Australians will spend $21bn in the post-Christmas sales through to mid-January, with online purchases expected to surge to a new record.

“The big difference this year will be an even heightened level in online shopping because some people want to avoid crowds,” ARA chief executive Paul Zahra said. “We still expect crowds but people will be more organised. There will be less browsing.”

The queue at StreetX boxing day sales.
Camera IconThe queue at StreetX boxing day sales. Credit: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

Close to 100 young people camped outside StreetX overnight for the chance to score one of 100 free shirts to be given away Sunday morning.

“We got there at 4am (on Sunday) thinking we’d be among the first 100, but there were easily more than 200 people by that point,” one teenager said.

“Everyone was camping out. We eventually gave up and headed to Myer for a cheeky look. We just got too tired.”

Outside the department store, more than 50 people waited in a socially-distanced queue, checking in with the SafeWA app in the lead-up to the store’s opening at 8am.

“It’s really good to see everyone following the mask rules an signing in and stuff,” Jasmine Adams said. “We’d be running a mile away if they weren’t.”

StreetX boxing day sales.
Camera IconStreetX boxing day sales. Credit: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

She and Ian Marshall admitted they typically kept Christmas relatively small, in favour of the Boxing Day sales.

“It’s heartbreaking seeing what you’ve bought for someone on sale for a fraction of the price the next day,” she said, “So we sort of buy one present each for Christmas and then the rest is on Boxing Day.

“We strategically covered Myer first, then we’ll head to David Jones, and then head down Murray and Hay Street.

“We’re getting everything. A lot of clothing.”

However, in stark contrast to to Perth’s CBD, frenzied bargain hunters over east were a rare sight.

Pre-pandemic crowds were reduced to a steady stream of shoppers trickling into stores in the heart of both Sydney and Melbourne.

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