Palma.—Yesterday was a fine day to go shopping and it appeared that retail trading was brisk on the high street and in the shopping centres as consumers came out for the first day of the winter sales.

There were plenty of people about, some laden with bags, while others were carefully pricing the items they wanted but retail association will not really be able to gauge how the sales have kicked off until the end of trading today. What is for sure is that there are some serious bargains to be had with many stores opening with discounts of as much as 70 percent, savings which one normally does not see until the sales near their end with stores desperate to get rid of unsold stock.

Retailers hope that by launching the sales with such massive bargains, consumers will be unable to resist the deals.

December was a poor trading month and November was described as one of the worst ever by nearly half of the island's retail sector.
With a new government introducing tough cuts, many consumers may still be reluctant to spend, despite the savings, while others are concerned about what 2012 holds, especially those out of work.

That said, the Independent Federation of Consumer Groups forecast yesterday that here in the Balearics, consumers will spend an average of 86 euros during the sales - nearly five percent more than last year although that is 4.4 percent below the national average.

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