Wild scenes of shoppers packing retail stores at Christmas and rushing the doors for massive Boxing sales binges could be over.
Christmas and Boxing Day shopping could be unrecognisable this year due to pandemic-led staff issues, stock delays and shoppers turned off by Covid safety measures.
There's even speculation the lingering effects of the pandemic could produce a seismic shift away from shopping in person as customers migrate to online shopping in their millions.
But the biggest changes could be to the traditional Boxing Day sales bonanza Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra told The Daily Telegraph.
Christmas and Boxing Day shopping could be unrecognisable this year due to pandemic-led staff issues, stock delays and shoppers turned off by Covid safety measures
Long queues due to restricted store capacity and check-in procedures such as checking vaccine status and QR codes and the requirement to wear masks indoors are a turn-off to shoppers
'We're not going to see those images for some time to come, people are shifting to shopping online … when you put that Covid safety in place it puts a lot of customers off,' Mr Zahra said.
'High volumes' of customer traffic in stores during holiday shopping is normally 'a real positive', he said, but not this year.
Feedback to the ARA even suggests some stores will be closed, while big retailers are downsizing floor space area for sales.
'It's a common thread when I speak to retailers, they say: 'I've opened this location and moved all my staff to this location … I can't open my other locations because I just don't have the staff' Mr Zahra said.
Although freedoms have returned to New South Wales and Victoria, retailers have far less capacity to deal with big crowds.
Their staffing levels are at all-time lows, due in part to widespread requirement for new staff to be double-vaccinated.
And massive global supply chain problems have led to product delays that threaten any