GYMPIE shoppers opened their wallets and headed for the bargains yesterday as the city opened its shop doors for a slightly belated version of what some say has become an Australian cultural tradition, the annual Boxing Day sales.
While hundreds of shoppers started pouring into Centro Shopping Centre from 8am, smaller crowds headed for Mary St, where about 20 stores were open for business, and for Goldfields, the Southside, IGA and Aldi.
Restocking the pantry and fridge did not seem to be the main priority, with many shoppers either chasing big discounts and clearance sales, getting a fix of retail therapy after the Christmas break, or catching up with friends for coffee.
Out at Harvey Norman, which opened for its Boxing Day sale on Monday and yesterday, staff reported a busy day on Monday with up to 300 people through the doors, but not quite as many yesterday.
Most of Centro's 55 specialty stores were open for business and offering discounts of 50, 60, 70 and 75% off in shoe, handbag and clothing items, which were a popular choice.
Gloria Jeans was doing a roaring trade in the morning as many shoppers took a break from their retail therapy, but weren't quite ready to face the overcast and muggy conditions outside.
Kia Ora family Graham, Jo and little Darcie Jenkins went to Big W chasing the bargains, but wound up not purchasing anything that was on sale.
While some keen shoppers were left empty-handed on Boxing Day after turning up and expecting the Gympie shops to be open, Jo said she had checked online and discovered nothing was open until Tuesday, so she hadn't made that mistake.
While there were a few shoppers out and about along Mary St, the Gympie Marketplace and Southside Town Centre, the sales and returns in Target helped draw a good crowd to Goldfields Plaza, where the bakery, newsagency, shoe shop, jewellers, chemist, liquor outlet and discount store were also open.
The Donut Shop was doing a steady trade thanks to hungry shoppers looking for a break and a coffee.
Young Mackenzie Brook was at Target with his mum and sister exchanging an impressive-looking Christmas present that "wouldn't go forward".
On the Sunshine Coast, holiday makers sent cash registers into meltdown at Sunshine Plaza and electrical stores such as Joyce Mayne, Harvey Norman, WOW, JB Hi-Fi, Retravision and Betta Electrical.
Purchases of LCD and plasma televisions, other home electronics, manchester and women's fashion led the sales.
Australian National Retailers Association chief Margy Osmond said there was a strong "cocooning" theme at the Boxing Day sales this year, with electronic and entertainment items together with homewares, such as manchester, popular.
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