Finance

Are Boxing Day sales still relevant for retailers?

Broede Carmody /

Boxing Day sales have lost some of their gloss

Australia’s major retail outlets could once again bring forward their end-of-year sales in a bid to shift clearance stock and capitalise on the Christmas spending bonanza.

Both Myer and David Jones are considering moving forward their Boxing Day sales to combat weeks of patchy trading, according to Fairfax.

If the retail giants opt to bring forward their end-of-year sales it would not be the first time. Three years ago Myer brought forward its December sales by two days, informing loyalty card holders they could receive Boxing Day discounts on Christmas Eve in the wake of tough trading conditions.

A spokesperson for Myer did not confirm whether the company would push forward its Boxing Day sales, but told SmartCompany the retailer regularly promotes discounts and the Christmas period is no different.

“We have promotional activity for our customers right throughout the year,” the spokesperson says.

“The lead up for Christmas is no different and this is what we have always done to support Christmas in our stores.”

The spokesperson says Myer is “currently very focused” on Christmas trade as an important time of year.

But Paul Greenberg, executive chairman of the National Online Retailers Association, told SmartCompany he thinks the time when Boxing Day sales meant people would trample over one another to get into a store is “well and truly over”.

“Days are gone where we’re going to sleep overnight at the front door of a retailer and fight it out,” Greenberg says.

“A focus not just on price but convenience and value has to be the new focus and that’s going to be good for everybody.”

Greenberg says there has been a “buzz” for quite a long time now that the level of discounting on Boxing Day itself is not as aggressive as it once was.

“Customers have access now to information and transparent pricing that I think makes it a different ball game,” he says.

“But it’s still very exciting. Promotional activity needs to be part of everyday retail.”

Last year retailers enjoyed strong Boxing Day sales trading. The Australian National Retailers Association estimated around $1.8 billion was spent on Boxing Day itself, with $5.7 billion spent in the first week of the end-of-year sales.

SmartCompany contacted David Jones for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.

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Broede Carmody

Broede Carmody is a former senior SmartCompany reporter. Before this, he was a co-editor of RMIT University's student magazine Catalyst.

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