Mates spurn surf for Sydney's Boxing Day sales

An early start is nothing new for Shellharbour friends Cole Lynch, Lachlan Ritchie and Jake Davidson, who usually are heading to the beach for a surf.

Instead the teenagers left their homes at 6am for a shopping spree in Sydney.

"We're shopping for summer gear," said Cole after emerging from General Pants.

"It was pretty hectic in there."

The friends were among thousands who headed into the city for the Boxing Day sales frenzy.

For some, it was still Christmas Day when they began lining up outside Myer, hoping to bag a bargain.

An estimated 400 people were queued in a "very orderly" fashion outside the Pitt Street Mall department store when it flung open its doors at 5am on Wednesday, while up to 500 people were lining up in the Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne, Myer spokesman Steven Carey said.

Hundreds more early birds were waiting outside David Jones stores, which also opened their doors at 5am.

Mr Carey said one man at the front of the Melbourne queue had said he arrived before midnight.

"That is really keen. He was here to shop for menswear," Mr Carey said.

"We also had some internationals, some people in the line had come over from New Zealand for the sales, which is the first time I've spoken to people who have specifically travelled here for the sales."

He said one of the most popular items snapped up on Boxing Day were often discounted Christmas decorations.

Men's and women's clothing were popular among Boxing Day shoppers, with between 30 and 50 per cent off the recommended retail price, Mr Carey said, while homewares and small electrical items were also popular.

The problem with Boxing Day shoppers is that they're looking to save money, according to one Sydney taxi driver, who had been unsuccessfully circling the city all morning looking for a fare.

"They're cheap, they won't spend money on a taxi. They catch the bus," the driver said.

"There were 1000 people in the mall at 4am, but it's been quiet for me."

One of the largest lines in the city was outside Gucci on Castlereagh Street, where sisters Daniella and Jess Maalla, from Marrickville, were queuing.

Jess had her eye on a particular handbag.

"Gucci is never on sale," said Daniella.

They arrived at 7.30am before the store opened at 8am, but were trumped by about 200 others who had started arriving by 6am.

"We've been in the queue for an hour. It will probably be another two hours before we get inside," said Jess, who was prepared to suffer in the name of fashion.

Christmas spending was expected to reach $2 billion before the Boxing Day sales even began, the Australian National Retailers Association said.

But a fast internet connection could prove more valuable in securing a bargain than sharp elbows and an eye for a sale tag, as retailers increasingly move sales online.

David Jones, Myer and Dick Smith were among the retailers who began their sales online as early as Monday.

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