Thousands of people have descended on stores across the country under the cover of storms and wild weather for this year’s Boxing Day sales blitz.

Retail stores across the country began opening their doors early on Tuesday for the yearly sales promotion, some as early as 6am.

Throughout the day, Australians are expected to spend about $1.25bn on a range of products, according to the Australian Retailers Association.

That figure, if achieved, would represent a 1.6 per cent, or about a $20m, increase in sales for the Boxing Day period from the same time last year.

“Boxing Day is the grand final of Australia’s favourite sport, shopping,” ARA chief executive Paul Zahra said on Tuesday.

“Despite cost-of-living pressures and economic turbulence, Australians are still set to spend slightly more than last year in the final pit stop before 2024.

“This is the biggest clearance event of the year as retailers move to clear stock and refresh their offerings ahead of the new year.

“Shoppers can expect to find some unprecedented deals both instore and online.”

In Melbourne, large crowds gathered on busy Bourke St despite inclement and overcast conditions following widespread storms over Christmas Day.

Shoppers defied expectations that in-person sales would continue to decline and perused a range of clothing outlets and book stores.

Similar scenes took place on Tuesday at Sydney’s Pitt St Mall where shoppers made the most of the drier conditions to browse stores.

Over the Christmas and new year sales period, which runs from December 26 until January 15, Mr Zahra said Australians were expected to spend a whopping $23.9bn.

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