LOCAL businesses and global giants got a welcome bounce as residents flocked to the shops for the traditional January sales after Three Kings’ Day. Many shops had already begun their sales early after New Year but, by the weekend of January 7, the consumer frenzy was in full swing.
For many Spaniards the Three Kings celebration of the epiphany of January 6 is the superlative celebration of the Christmas festivities and they proved it in sheer numbers over the weekend. Shopping centres from Marbella to Malaga were packed to the rafters as thousands descended on the discount season.
With Sunday opening allowed for the last time until June, there were traffic jams exceeding three kilometres leading to the La Cañada centre in Marbella and monstrous delays towards El Corte Ingles in Malaga.
Clothes, shoes and accessories accounted for the bulk of buys at around 76 per cent, Costa del Sol residents forked out just under €100 each on goods, more than €20 over what the average Andalucian spent.
One hugely positive early sign is that it was not only major international clothes retailers who benefited from the record spending. Small and medium-sized businesses saw sales grow by more than 3 per cent on last year, and the money they earn will be ploughed back into the local economy.
The winter sales continue until February 28 with increasingly large discounts available.