“The sale they are not what they used to be, ”says María Teresa Martín, a 44-year-old sales assistant behind her working in The English Court. Less than ten minutes before the shops of Calle de Preciados open in the nerve center of Madrid’s commerce, dozens of people face the cold to have the privilege of being the first to take advantage of the January sales. The image contrasts with the memory of Martín: Just a few years ago, the masses of customers overflowed the door of commerce at the same time, eager to take a slice of the traditional discounts that followed the day of Kings.
“Black friday, Cyber Monday, Happy 2020… ”, Martin lists the sales events that have been advanced to those of Tuesday, January 7. “There are so many discounts that when today comes, people have already made their purchases,” explains the veteran saleswoman.
The liberalization of sales and the arrival of new consumption phenomena have upset the buying habits of the Spaniards, and there are many businesses and customers that no longer expect the traditional starting gun. Before its liberalization in 2012, this offer period concentrated more than 40% of the annual turnover of the sector. Now, according to the data of the employer of the textile commerce Acotex, and those of the Spanish Confederation of Commerce (CEC), do not reach 20%. It is the end of seasonality. “It really is negative news,” says Eduardo Zamácola, president of Acotex. “Everyone launches promotions throughout the year and this reduces profit margins. The sales are no longer seen as a time to take off products that companies had failed to sell. Now the customer is demanding continuous offers, ”he adds.
Mari Paz Ávila has been one of the first to enter the English Court this year, with no thrusts or endless queues on this occasion. “I have come to return gifts and exchange them,” says this 52-year-old from Madrid. The main purchase — a laptop— He did it in November, during Black Friday. Like her, Celia and Carmen Sánchez, septuagenarian sisters, bought all the clothes they needed, their children and their grandchildren a month and a half ago. Now they enjoy the quietest sales of their lives, they say, while changing some clothes with which they did not succeed. Estela Santiago, 48, is disappointed with the offer of clothing companies. “Before it was easy to find exclusive products on offer these days. Now the brands lower before and you have to be aware at all times, ”says this personal shopper while scanning bags in search of a bargain.
The sales trend no longer depends on a period of sales, “but it is influenced by many aspects, such as the very strong irruption of commerce on-line“ argues the National Association of Large Distribution Companies (ANGED). Ana Anastasia, 28, confesses to buying mainly online. Today he accompanies his mother-in-law on sale, Esther Matito, 50, who on the contrary prefers to buy in person: “I like to taste everything, see and touch it,” he says. It is one of the nostalgic discounts of a lifetime. Jesús Álvarez, 26, traveled the previous night over 600 kilometers to arrive on time from Vigo to the capital’s sales. Despite this exceptional trip, he acknowledges that he mostly uses his mobile phone to buy.
It’s not just him boom digital the one that makes year after year decrease the crowd of customers on January 7. Nuria Rodríguez refuses to buy on-line. “I live in the center and I have all the stores within walking distance. In the end, you spend more time searching for what you want on the Internet and returning what doesn’t come or goes wrong, ”explains this 47-year-old teacher. Nevertheless, Rodriguez began his sales last Thursday, the same day that H&M, along with other businesses such as Mango or Cortefiel, advanced the premiere of their discounts.
Although the employer of the big surfaces (ANGED) trusts that four million people visit their establishments this January 7, the small and medium commerce is not so optimistic. Pedro Campo, representative of the sector, warns that proximity businesses cannot keep up with the aggressive rate of sales: “We can’t play in this line. The profit margin is so small that it leads to losses. ” Eduardo Zamácola, president of Acotex, asks from the textile management for merchants: “This dynamic of constant sales to position yourself better than the competition is bread for today and hunger for tomorrow”. And it also launches a message for the consumer: “If you want stores near your home, with qualified professionals and good customer service, you cannot always demand discounts,” he concludes.