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Spain's second hand shopping spree

posted 21 Sep 2012, 08:26 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 21 Sep 2012, 08:26 ]

Cash-strapped Spaniards overcome their resistance to buying second-hand items and hold onto their belongings for longer because the painful financial crisis has wrecked consumer confidence and changed consumption habits. Sonia Legg reports

SPAIN-SECOND HAND RETAIL - There aren't many boom industries in Spain at the moment but this Madrid shop is bucking the trend.


"Figure" sells second hand clothes - Noemi Logrono is its owner.

NOEMI LOGRONO, OWNER OF SECOND HAND CLOTHING SHOP, SAYING:

"Young girls on the minimum wage have such a tight budget these days they can't even buy second hand items but the people who used to come here to give away their clothing now come to buy instead."

There's a cultural resistance to buying old things - or even quite new things - in Spain.


But that seems to be changing.


The charity Humana has 26 shops in the country now - 9 more than three years ago.

Car showrooms too have changed their focus.


Seventy percent of cars sold in Spain are now second-hand up from 63 percent in 2010 and half the country's vehicles are more than 10 years old.


Angel Rodriguez is a car salesman.

SALES CLERK AT SECOND HAND CARS STORE, ANGEL RODRIGUEZ, SAYING:

"Everything's changed - six or seven years ago we sold four or five new cars for every used car, now it's the other way around. And in the past people wouldn't think twice about taking out a big loan for a car now they'd rather pay up front or get a smaller loan."


Retails sales in Spain have tumbled over the past two years and the economy recently slumped into its second recession in three years.


Cash Converters - a chain of second hand stores - says 4 in 10 people bought or sold used items in 2010 - an increase of a third in four years.


With an unemployment rate of one in four and a government trying to cut 65 billion euros from its deficit by 2014 that comes as no surprise to many.


Adapting business is the key to survival.


Armando Hernandez used to make picture frames now he repairs furniture.

ARMANDO HERNANDEZ, COLOMBIAN CARPENTER, SAYING:

"Things have improved since we changed to furniture repairs. Our lifestyle is better although there's still no chance of us saving any money."


Armando has at least saved his business - but he now works a 10 hour day and that's likely to continue.

A convincing recovery looks a long way off - Spain's new retail landscape is here to stay.


Sonia Legg, Reuters

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