THE first day of January Sales was declared a massive success as thousands flocked to Costa del Sol shopping centres.
While the consumer group FUCI forecast shoppers will spend on average €90 each during the sales, some people really splurged.
Local pre-school teacher Elisa Naranjo, 29 spent €500 on a 12.hour shopping spree on Saturday at the Miramar Shopping Centre and El Corte Ingles in Fuengirola.
“It is the only day of the year that I don’t mind waking up early. By the end of the day I was drained, but happy. “My only problem now is fitting everything into my wardrobe,” she said.
Meanwhile, Marbella’s La Cañada Shopping Centre was packed as the winter sales got underway.
A shuttle bus was laid on to take shoppers from the additional car park to the shopping centre, according to Christine Yeadon from Mijas Pueblo. They also reportedly told people to park in the Marbella car parks as theirs was full.
“Some shop queues were as long as the shops themselves,” said Christine.
“When I left La Cañada at around 6.30pm the motorway lanes were backed up in the Puerto Banus direction.”
To a lesser extent, the same was experienced at Miramar in Fuengirola. “When I went after 2pm, the lanes leading in and out of the centre were the fullest I have ever seen them,” said Louise Hall from Fuengirola.
Meanwhile, in Fuengirola town centre, while many shops reported sales being a bit better than last year, they did not share the mad rush seen in shopping centres. the start of the sales were “not that great,” according to Jose Robles, owner of Fuengirola boutique LEK.
“Last year I did really well, so I was hoping for the same this year, but as I had only just opened my success was probably more down to being something new.”
For Juan Jimenez who has run the GB Bravo shoe store in Fuengirola since 1988, the first day of sales “was better than the rest of the week and a bit better than last year on the first day of the sales (Saturday), especially the morning.”
“I think people must have been saving up as sales are much better now than they were before Christmas and Three Kings.”
“This has been the worst and longest crisis I have experienced, worse than the one at the beginning of the 1990s, but I think we are slowly coming out of it. Last year was a bit better than 2010 and this year so far has been a bit better than last,” said Juan.
Some shops that had not put on any special discount other than their usual year-round sale also benefited from the increased number of shoppers on the streets.
“On Saturday sales were really good, better than I expected,” said Antonio Dominjuez, the optometrist at Centro Optico Balbuena in Fuengirola.
“People see the 25% discount in the window and come in and some buy the glasses, but in reality it is the same discount we have all year.”
Regional business association Confederación Empresarial del Comercio de Andalucía (CECA) forecast €270 million will be spent during the Sales across the region, a 5 per cent increase on last year.
Meanwhile, the regional government revealed it will check 554 businesses in the region – 77 in Malaga Province – to ensure these are complying with Spain’s strict sales regulations.
The winter sales will continue in Andalucia until March 7