Hawke's Bay retailers are bracing for a bumper Boxing Day, with spending trends already ahead of last year's festive trading.
Local stores will join big-box retailers to offer further sale-prices in an already buoyant Christmas trading season.
In Hawke's Bay, Paymark Figures showed $39.6 million was spent in the seven days to Christmas Eve, up by 5.8 per cent from last year's $37.4 million spend.
Nationally, the spending was up 4.5 per cent for the week, and there were 132 transactions per second on Christmas Eve alone.
Clothing retailer Red Rat assistant manager Katie Reid said she expected to be run off her feet on Boxing Day in Hastings. The store's sales season started before Christmas with very strong buying, she said.
"We expect to be really busy on Boxing Day and will be opening the doors first thing at 9am."
Established Napier and Hastings women's clothing store O SO U would open its doors for the first time this Boxing Day.
"We opened years ago but this year we thought we'll try the Boxing Day as well, it seems to be what people want," owner Janette Jeffery said.
Bed, Bath and Beyond manager Sharon Connell said the sale day was often one of their busiest.
"Everything just gets reduced and last year we found a lot of people actually did their Christmas shopping," she said. "People come to stay from out of town after Christmas so they do it then when it's a lot cheaper."
"Other people will look at something and come back to get it especially because they know it will be on sale."
She said crowd numbers have been consistently high this year, and she expected them to pick up even more today.
"We have been really busy for about three weeks before Christmas and it hasn't stopped."
Kitchen Things Napier director Rob Duckworth said the Christmas lift in sales is down to a very strong Boxing Day helped by discounts.
In 2012 he changed his business model from an appliance store to a kitchen specialist and was not expecting a Christmas increase.
"Normally sales fall off before Christmas because people can't get their kitchens delivered or fridges installed," he said.
"The amount of one-off business - dishwashers, washing machines and fridges we've sold is amazing. I think we are going to be having a very busy Boxing Day. I have just been talking to the team - I think we may be a little bit under staffed."
Napier Inner City Marketing deputy chairman Graham Bell said the Napier retail scene on Christmas Eve was "very buoyant, very positive", helped by two cruise ships in port.
Paymark CEO Simon Tong said steady retail growth figures demonstrated Kiwis had been more organised shoppers this year.
"While spending is still up annually, many are avoiding taking the last-minute shopping approach in the final days before Christmas."
Mr Bell, who owns clothing store Alexanders on Tennyson, said Hawke's Bay positivity extended well beyond retail figures..
"The majority of our customers are looking forward to a new year with a very positive outlook," he said.
Figures showed Kiwis were still hard at work on their homes these Christmas holidays, with floor covering and furniture stores reporting pre-Christmas December spending growth of 20.6 per cent year-on-year and garden stores and hardware/building supply stores up 10.1 per cent and 10.3 per cent respectively.
Many may need to loosen their belt notches as food and liquor retailers reaped the benefits of the party season. Restaurants, bars and cafes were up 7.3 per cent year-on-year as well as takeaway shops (+6.5 per cent ) and liquor retailers (+11.5 per cent ).
Some stores even started their sales early online - the Warehouse, Harvey Norman and Dick Smith all had their specials available for those who spent Christmas Day on a computer.