Spaniards are buying fewer cars and fewer clothes. Rising unemployment force them to slash spending, dealing a severe blow to manufacturers and shops.
Clothing sales in Spain are down by 8.7 per cent this year, the seventh consecutive year that they have fallen, according to clothing retail lobby group ACOTEX.
Spain, the eurozone´s fourth-largest economy, is still struggling to overcome the aftermath of a property bubble that imploded in 2008, destroying millions of jobs and sending debt levels soaring.
The jobless rate has rocketed to a record 27 per cent and this, combined with sharp government spending cuts and tax hikes aimed at slashing a ballooning public deficit, has led consumers to tighten their wallets.
Retail sales in Spain fell 2.6 per cent in April — the 34th straight monthly decline.
The government predicts the unemployment rate will not fall below 25 per cent until 2016.
Automakers predict some 700,000 cars will be sold in Spain this year, compared to yearly sales of 1.5 million vehicles recorded before the start of the economic crisis.
The government on Friday approved a plan to support the retail sector and make it more competitive by facilitating the obtention of loans and making it easier to sell goods online.
The Plan aims to consolidate employment, drive sales, incorporate new technologies and improve the management of retail trade. The government also approved the Bill on Savings Banks and Bank Foundations with the aim of them returning to concentrating on receiving deposits from savers and providing credit to families and businesses.