By Humphrey Carter THE winter sales start tomorrow morning but few retailers are jumping for joy. The bright and sunny start to the week has done nothing to lift the gloom on the high street and yesterday the president of the small shopkeepers association PIMECO, Ángel Pujol, said that most retailers fear that business will be the same as last year and will not “save the winter trading period.” So far this winter, high street spending is below 2002 and retailers are expected to slash prices, great news for the consumers, but bad news for shops. Ángel Pujol said yesterday that while there is expected to be a rush to the sales and some excellent offers are going to be found, “but small shopkeepers do not make a living from the sales, they're more a way of clearing old stock to make way for the new lines.” According to the PIMECO boss, what has caused the slow down in high street spending has been the euro because the single currency has pushed up the price of goods, in particular cheaper products, excessively high. “This has had a negative effect on domestic expenditure,” Ángel Pujol said. He also added that the poor performance of the tourist industry over the past few years has also forced consumers to tighten their belts. “People working in the service and complementary sectors no longer have the cash they used to,” he said. As a result, high street activity will increase, but revenue will not. On the mainland, where the regional economies have performed much better than in the Balearics, people are expected to spend an average of 112 euros at the sales, according to the Federation of Independent Consumers. However, here in the Balearics, bargain hunters will be spending an average of 90 euros per person, the same as last year. Clothes and footwear shops will be the busiest and some stores are already offering Christmas discounts of between 50 and 70 percent in the run up to the official sales. This Sunday not only provided people with a chance for some last minute Three Kings shopping, but also gave the professional bargain hunter a chance to seek out the goods they will head for on day one of the sales.