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Christmas shopping spending down 15% on 2010

Pre-Christmas sales in Portugal are expected to drop by around 15% on 2010 according to the Portuguese Confederation of Commerce and Services.

That could translate into a loss of €600 million in retail trade in the run-up to what should be the busiest period of the year.

This Christmas is already ‘on sale’ with the lion’s share of shops in both shopping centres and streets plastered with red posters offering discounts of between 20% and

50% off recommended retail prices.

Retail expectations are most pessimistic in Lisbon where the Union for Commerce and Services Associations (UACS) has admitted that sales so far are “down by as much as 40%” overall on last year.

“We’re extremely worried. Last year there was a fall of 30% in Christmas spending and this year, in the middle of the crisis, things are looking a lot worse,” said the president of UACS,

Carla Salsinha.

Overall, 2011 saw a collapse in the nation’s retail market in shopping centres by around 27%-30% according to most international retail consultants.

Luís Reis, president of the Portuguese Association of Distribution Companies (APED), which represents companies like Pingo Doce supermarkets and furniture retailer Moviflor, said that it was “too soon to make judgements about numbers”.

And for the first time ever since records began, food retail outlets (supermarkets and hypermarkets) are registering falling sales of between 1% and 2% so far in the second half of this year.

Sales in some non-foodstuff categories have fallen by as much as 10% over the same period.

“The trend for the near future rules out impulse buying and it will be very difficult for retail traders to recover lost trade over the year in the run-up to Christmas,” says President of the CCP, João Vieira Lopes, adding that the trend for cheaper products and sales is set

to continue.