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The January Sales In Spain

By Jo Green - Thu 27th Jan 2011

It always used to make me laugh when I lived in the UK, that when as soon as the Queen's speech had finished on Christmas day (and before the Bond film) the adverts for Package Holidays and the January sales would start. Granted, most of the 'Sales' were for DFS or some other generic furniture store, who 'only' had 18 such bargain sales every year (it seems that every advert, regardless of time of year ended with the words 'must end tommorrow'), but many were also from clothing or department stores advertising that the sales were about to get underway.

Then there is Next. Any ardent shoppaholic will know that the Next sale usually kicks off at 6am on the boxing day and that it is not uncommon to hear of idiots camping outside their door overnight like a set of refugees just in order to bag a cheap suit or something equally tedious.

In the UK the January, or New Year sales have kind of lost their true meaning - for one they almost always start as soon as the tills have beome silent after the last shopper leaves the store on a Christmas eve, and for another there seems to be no real pattern as to what exactly constitutes 'a sale'. Apart from the annoying TV adverts.

It is totally different here in Spain, where the 'January Sales' are closely regulated and controlled by the faceless powers that be up in their ivory towers.

The sales almost always start on January 7th, or at least the first working days after the fiesta of the three kings and runs to at the very least the end of the month (Zara being one such store), but other stores will continue with their sale until the end of Febuary. Some areas of Spain are allowed a little leaway by their Town Hall's to be a little more flexible with the exact dates of the sales, but these are in a minority.

Discounts can and do vary from shop to shop. Over recent years it has started at around 20%- 40% and when the stocks start to run down it jumps up to 50% / 60%, however, over recent years the discounts seem to be a little more generous overall.

A few weeks into the 'rebajas' the El Corte Ingles department store in particluar usually start to offer further discounts - normally an extra 20% discount on top of the already discounted sale price. It is always worth asking the attendant ask what the final price is as it often won't tell you this on the ticket and it can be confusing trying to work out what items have or haven't already been discounted.

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