Post-Christmas sales give much needed boost

Post-Christmas sales give much needed boost
The post-Christmas shopping frenzy is in full swing, giving the Swedish economy a much needed boost. Consumer spending is also up compared to the same period last year.

Jonas Arnberg, analyst at the Swedish Retail Institute (Handelns Utredningsinstitut – HUI), said that the pace has quickened remarkably in comparison to the weak spending last year. “Things are looking really good,” he told TT news agency.

Even if things remain uncertain on the industrial front and in terms of the overall Swedish economy, consumer spending is on the rise.

“Tax reductions and low interest rates have created disposable income, so even if manufacturing is weak, retail is on the rise, and that’s good for the economy,” Arnberg said.

HUI takes monthly measures of retail, so there are no overall figures for how various product segments performed in December. According to forecasts, clothing sales were expected to increase by 2-3 percent and shoes by 15-20 percent – industries that are sure to be propped up by the chilly Swedish weather.

But clothing isn’t at the top of Swede’s post-Christmas shopping lists. Sales within electronics – the industry where good deals are most sought after – are booming.

“We have had a real flying start this year…TVs, laptops, digital cameras and game consoles are the products flying off the shelves the fastest,” Sara Widman, information officer at electronics outlet Siba, told TT.

Discounts are around 20 percent off regular prices. It’s also the time when a lot of people purchase white goods, refrigerators and slightly more expensive kitchen gadgets at the country’s electronic stores.

“It’s recurring. Customers know that there will be post-Christmas sales and wait to make larger purchases like these until now,” Widman said.

The large crowds also mean it’s the season for pickpockets. “There are a lot of robberies during the holiday shopping. There are a lot of people out and a lot of money in circulation. We encourage as many as possible to pay with credit cards to reduce the handling of cash,” Margareta Ternell, press officer at Svensk Handel, told TT.

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