Spending rises

WITH THE holiday shopping season in full swing, spending in Portugal appears to be on the rise.

According to Cushman & Wakefield’s Retail Market Pulse 2007 survey, the state of the economy is seen by retailers in Portugal as the most important factor to affect sales. However, the majority of those questioned reported that, despite the ongoing economic crisis, 2006 was a good year for them. Around 70 per cent reported a sales volume increase of over five per cent.

As reported recently in the People & Business magazine, expansion is the strategy adopted by the majority of retailers, with more than 90 per cent of those surveyed expecting to expand their network of shops in the medium to long term. The preferred channel is the shopping centre, with the high street being an option that some 26 per cent are considering.

Since the current legislation regarding shopping centres came into effect in 2004, the government has approved 21 and turned down 31 proposals. In 2009, 10 new shopping centres are to open in Portugal. Ikea is planning to open five more centres here by 2015.

The report quoted Paulo Marcos, an adjunct director at Banco Espírito Santo and a professor at Católica University, as saying “We are not yet experiencing a crisis of consumer confidence. Mortgage loans are slightly up, car sales are up and people are travelling in record numbers. Unemployment is up, but consumer spending is still on the rise”.

We are currently in the height of the luxuries and gadgets buying time of year. According to the same magazine, this time last year Portuguese buyers spent nearly 1,000 euros per second, which was up five per cent from the same period of the previous year.

According to an analysis by Deloitte consultants, carried out in 13 countries, 72 per cent of Christmas shoppers prefer to buy in hypermarkets, with 28 per cent believing that is where the best prices can be found.

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