By Humphrey Carter BALEARIC retailers' wish came true yesterday with the winter sales getting off to a frantic start. Extra traffic police were on duty yesterday morning just in case of a mad rush to the sales and they were well placed to deal with the heavy traffic in the centre of Palma. Thousands of shoppers, making the most of the final long weekend of the Christmas and New Year holidays, jockied for parking spaces.

Retail sector bosses said yesterday that this year's sales campaign is “aggressive” with discounts far greater than usual.
According to a survey of some 250 stores yesterday, while the Christmas sales period was “regular,” the winter sales got off to a “positive” start yesterday.

Bargain hunters zeroed in on clothes, textiles, accessories and footwear with a late surge in demand for winter clothes now that the weather has turned cold.

But, in a concerted attempt to get rid of as much of the winter clothing range as possible, prices were slashed by as much as 40 percent in some places yesterday.

Retail bosses said usually, when the sales kick off, maximum discounts are around 40 percent and gradually rise as the sales progress, however, this year, it is a bargain-hunters paradise in the clothing, footwear and textile departments.

However, the savings are not as great on electrical and electronic goods or furniture.
A positive winter sales period will serve to breathe some life back in to the High Street.
A third of retailers said yesterday that Christmas trade was down by as much as 30 per cent on last year while a quarter claimed that trade rose by between five and 10 per cent.

The rest said they noticed little change with Christmas and New Year's Eves being the two busiest trading days of the holidays.