By Humphrey Carter
THE winter sales got off to a brisk start in Palma yesterday with both high street retailers and shopping centres reporting busy trading during the first hours of the sales. Finding a car parking space was impossible in Palma yesterday morning and many bargain hunters were forced to join long queues for the under ground car parks. The Porto Pi shopping centre was packed with long queues in most of the stores while there were scores of eager bargain hunters banked up outside the main doors to the El Cortes Inglés on the Avenidas long before opening. The Jaime III store also enjoyed a busy morning although across the city, not all the shops were offering major discounts.
At the one end, some retailers had slashed their prices by 50 percent or more, at the other, some had decided to hold back to just 20 percent preferring to save the big reduction until the very end of the sales. The official winter sales period is two months but a number of retailers said yesterday that eight weeks if far too long and that come the middle of next month, most of the winter stock has been sold any way. How long the winter sales fever will last remains to be seen, the retail sector is optimistic that the sales will prove successful but consumer associations yesterday warned shoppers not to buy for the sake of buying. Yesterday most store owners were reserving their judgement on the sales.
Many said that a hectic first few days is often a bad sign and, “as far as the consumer is concerned, the winters sales will be over in juts a few weeks,” one Jaime III store owner said. “We will have a clear idea of how the sales are going within two weeks,” he added.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs warned people not to get carried away and over spend and to make sure they keep their receipt, in the event of wanting a refund, and that all items are covered by a two-year guarantee.

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