WITH just two days until the start of the official Sales, Costa del Sol retailers report Monday was their busiest day of the festive period.
Many shops had special deals to attract customers and this, added to the good weather and the fact that many people had the day off from work, got the tills ringing, according to a Spanish local Press report.
Shoppers were on the hunt for gifts for Three Kings – or Reyes – which is tomorrow, when the Spanish traditionally exchange gifts.
The Spanish will spend 6 per cent more than last year at the winter sales which start across the Costa del Sol on Saturday, with an average outlay of €90.
This is the highest rise in sales’ spending since the onset of the economic crisis 2008, found consumers’ association FUCI after polling more than 2,000 people.
Not only will people spend more, but in Madrid and Murcia sales started earlier than usual, on January 1 and January 2 respectively. This broke with tradition, as winter sales always began on the day after the January 6 holiday of the Three Kings.
Equally traditionally these are bought at pre-sale prices but in a direct response to reduced spending power, crisis-hit consumers increasingly put off purchases in order to make savings, according to FUCI.
Two-thirds of Spanish consumers will go to the sales, but although 74 per cent of those interviewed said they expected to spend more, 26 per cent told FUCI that they would have to spend less owing to overstretched budgets.
Clothes were the favourite buy for 78 per cent, as these usually had the largest mark-down, followed by accessories (11 per cent), IT equipment and computer games (6 per cent) and leisure articles (4 per cent).
Just under half admitted setting themselves a financial limit and making out a list beforehand. Although 73 per cent explained that this was to control spending, the remaining 27 per cent did so in order to remember what they wanted.
Meanwhile, shops in Portugal reported they have been full of Spanish customers since the sales began there December 28.
Many people have travelled from Spain, especially from the areas on the border with Portugal, to take advantage of the neighbouring country’s early sales which will allow them to get some gifts for Three Kings.
The signs advertising the sales in Portugal also remind prospective customers to come to certain areas so they will not have to pay the fee for the toll motorway which came into effect last month.
Vila Real de Santo Antonio, for example, sees people arriving from Huelva almost every day, amounting to almost 60 per cent of their clientele.
Other popular areas are Altura, Tavira and Faro.