The sales are back. Some brands have started offering selective discounts through their applications and online channels. But in a few days the first big sales will begin in a year after the failure of the fall and January campaigns, ruined by the restrictions. The enthusiasm of the Spaniards for the end of the state of alarm, the savings impounded during the months of confinement and the arrival of summer seem not to be enough incentive to revive the commercial sector, which faces the July sales with restrained optimism. Internal studies of the sector point to an improvement in sales compared to last year, but they would still remain between 20% and 30% below those of 2019, the last reference year. The same will happen with hiring for rebates: some 140,000 contracts will be signed, between 12% and 15% more than last year, but far from the precovid years.
Julián Ruiz, president of the Spanish Confederation of Commerce (CEC), emphasizes that these sales will be better than those of 2020, but measuring against the year of the pandemic is not enough: “There is a certain optimism regarding what we sold in the summer last, but that month is not an important reference ”. In addition, he adds, this year the end of the state of alarm will have more weight than the discounts themselves: “That there is a slight improvement in sales will have to do with the relaxation of restrictions more than with the sales campaign.
Although sales traditionally start on Thursday of next week, July 1, some of the big sellers have already gotten ahead of themselves. The American giant Amazon kicked off with Prime Day, which ends on Tuesday. The offers MediaMarkt, Fnac, Xiaomi, AliExpress, H&M, Bershka or Springfield, among others, have also posted. For the majority of the Inditex group (Zara, Pull & Bear, Stradivarius and Oysho) the sales are expected for this Friday, while El Corte Inglés has not yet made the date public.
The relative momentum in sales will be accompanied by more employment. Adecco estimates that in the next two weeks some 140,000 contracts related to sales will be signed in Spain, especially in distribution and sales, although they will continue to be 28% below the 180,000 contracted for sales in July 2019. Javier Blasco, director of Adecco Group Institute points out that this campaign is going to be the beginning of a positive season: “It seems that it is going to be a pretty good summer. We will be close to a 20% increase in employment compared to 2020 due to inland tourism and hospitality ”.
Despite the temperate expectations of the commercial sector, Julián Ruiz recalls that economic indicators call for optimism, with the consumer confidence index at its highest since July 2019, with 89 points out of 200. Another key indicator of consumption, spending with card of the Spanish, goes through the roof. Last month it was 19% higher than that of May 2019. “Since the end of the state of alarm, there has been a change in trend and a greater influx of physical stores,” they explain from the National Association of Large Distribution Companies ( Anged). “Confidence has recovered, especially in food and textiles,” they add.
This last sector is precisely the one that has the longest way to go. The sale of clothing was one of the commercial divisions that suffered the most in 2020, with a 41% drop in sales in the whole of 2020. After that hole in the accounts, any improvement is welcome and from the Acotex business group they conform With July sales similar to those of last year, in the midst of the pandemic, when sales were 22% worse than in a normal year. “It would be fantastic if we sold the same as last year,” says Eduardo Zamacola, president of Acotex, who does not have too many illusions about returning to precovid terrain: “Selling like in 2019 would be a dream.”
Ironically, Zamacola points out, closing some good sales is not a cause for celebration either, since it is a period to sell stock garments below their price. Likewise, it warns that next week’s sales will have less variety because the crisis has made stores buy less clothing to avoid being stored.