European stores regularly hold sales – they exhibit collections of clothes, shoes and accessories with a discount of 30 to 80%. This is used not only by local residents, but also by tourists who come to Europe specifically for shopping.
Each country has its own rules for holding sales. For example, in Italy, France and Greece, the start date and duration of the discount season is regulated by the government.
During seasonal sales, stores in Europe gradually increase discounts, often in three stages. At first, the discounts are up to 30%, by the middle of the sales period – up to 50%, in the last week – from 70%.
Some buyers delay purchases until the last week to take advantage of the maximum discount. This is risky: by the end of the sale, the store may not have the right product left.
When do sales start in Italy?
Sale calendar. The summer season of discounts in Italy begins on the first Saturday of July, the winter season on the first Saturday of January. The exact dates of the sales are set by the Italian government: seasonal sales last no more than two months. The exceptions are a few regions: for example, in Puglia and Sicily, the summer discount season is usually extended until mid-September.
Stores and brands. Discounts range from 30 to 70%, they are set by both mass segment stores – Max Mara, Stefanel, Marella, and luxury brands – Valentino, Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana.
Major Italian shopping centers and outlets:
- The Mall in Florence;
- Serravalle Designer Outlet in Milan;
- Castel Guelfo The Style Outlets in Bologna;
- La Reggia Designer outlet in Naples;
- Noventa Di Piave Designer Outlet in Venice.
Shop hours. Shopping centers are usually open from 10:00 to 22:00, local shops – from 10:00 to 19:00 or 20:00.
When do sales start in Austria?
Sale calendar. Austrian stores arrange seasonal sales: in summer – in July and August, in winter – from December 20 to the end of February. The period of sales captures the time before Christmas, which means that gifts for the holidays can be bought at a discount.
Stores and brands. The flagship boutiques of luxury brands are concentrated in the historical part of Vienna – in the “golden quarter”. For example, there are Cartier, Burberry, Giorgio Armani, Dior, Moncler stores.
Skiers and snowboarders come to Austria to ski in the Alps and upgrade their sports equipment. Clothes and equipment are bought in outlets or branded stores Head, Fischer, Atomic.
Large shopping centers and outlets in Austria:
- Peek & Cloppenburg in Vienna;
- Padorf in the suburbs of Vienna;
- Designer Outlet in Salzburg.
Shop hours. On weekdays, shops open at 9:00-10:00, work until 19:00-20:00, shopping centers – an hour or two longer. Saturday in many stores is a shortened day, and Sunday is a day off.
When do sales start in Portugal?
Sale calendar. Sales in Portugal are held twice a year: in winter – from January 7, in summer – from early August to mid-September.
Stores and brands. At sales, in addition to the premium segment, they buy Portuguese leather shoes and accessories, as well as Spanish clothing brands – Massimo Dutti, Zara, Desigual, Uterque.
Large shopping centers and outlets in Portugal:
- Centro Colombo, Centro Vasco da Gama and Stivali in Lisbon;
- Galeria Peninsular and NorteShopping in Porto.
Shop hours. Store hours in Portugal:
- from Monday to Friday – from 9:00-10:00 to 19:00 with a break for a siesta from 13:00 to 15:00;
- on Saturdays, many shops are open only in the morning or, conversely, in the afternoon;
- Sunday may be a holiday, but large shopping centers are usually open.
When do sales start in Spain?
Sale calendar. Winter sales in Spain start on January 7, but in some cities, such as Madrid, on January 1. The season of winter discounts usually lasts until the end of February.
Summer sales in Spain run from 1 July to the end of September.
Stores and brands. Tourists buy Spanish brands of clothing and footwear – Massimo Dutti, Zara, Uterque, Manolo Blahnik, Pura Lope. Although these brands are present all over the world, in Spain the stores offer the widest range and rare collections that are not sold in other countries.
Luxury brands are concentrated in Barrio de Salamanca in Madrid and Paseo de Gracia in Barcelona. There you can buy Dior, Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, Cartier, Bulgari.
Shop hours. Major Spanish shopping centers and outlets:
- La Roca Village and L’Illa Diagonal in Barcelona;
- ABC Serrano and Jardin de Serrano in Madrid;
- El Corte Ingles in Marbella, Granada, Malaga.
Shopping centers are open all week from 10:00 to 22:00. Small shops often take a siesta break from 13:30 to 16:30 and are closed on Sundays.
When do sales start in France?
Sale calendar. Seasonal sales in France take place in winter and summer and last a maximum of four weeks. Sales start dates are set annually by the French government.
Winter sales in France usually start on the second Wednesday of January. Sales start dates may differ in the departments of France, which are located in the north-east of the country on the border with Luxembourg, Germany and Belgium.
Summer sales in France start on the last Wednesday of June. In the departments of Alpes-Maritimes, Pyrenees-Orientales and Corsica, the discount season opens earlier.
Stores and brands. Large shopping centers and outlets in France:
- Printemps, Galeries Lafayette, Bon Marche in Paris;
- Reciproque, La Vallée Village, One Nation Paris in the suburbs of Paris;
- Quai des marques Bordeaux in Bordeaux;
When do sales start in Germany?
Sale calendar. Winter sales in Germany start earlier than in other European countries – at the end of November and continue until the end of January.
Summer seasonal discounts in Germany start in July, but some stores announce them as early as May. The peak of discounts falls on the last week of July and the first week of August.
Stores and brands. German brand stores are widely represented in the country – Karl Lagerfeld, Hugo Boss, Philipp Plein, Tom Tailor, Escada, Falke.
Large shopping centers and outlets:
- KaDeWe, Mall of Berlin and Alexa in Berlin;
- Berlin Designer Outlet B5 and Designer Outlets Wolfsburg in the suburbs of Berlin;
- Hirmer and Ingolstadt Village in Munich;
- Dusseldorf Fashionesta Outlet in Dusseldorf.
Shop hours. Shops are open Monday to Saturday from 9:00 or 10:00 to 19:00 or 20:00. On Sunday, most shops and malls in Germany are closed.
When do UK sales start?
Sale calendar. Winter sales in the UK begin on December 26 – a holiday called “Boxing Day”, and continue until the end of January.
Summer sales in the UK start at the end of June. Purchases with discounts can be made until the beginning of August.
Stores and brands. Flagship stores of English brands are represented in the country – Burberry, Stella McCartney, Paul Smith, Loake, John Lobb, Dr. Martens.
Major shopping centers and outlets in the UK:
- Harrods, London’s Savile Row, Liberty, Mayfair, Fortnum & Mason in London;
- Glasgow’s Style Mile in Glasgow;
- Bicester Village in Oxfordshire;
- Kilver Court Designer Village in Somerset.
Shop hours. Shopping centers and large stores are open from 9:00 to 21:00 or 22:00, small shops close around 18:00. Sunday can be a day off or a shortened working day – until 16:00.
When do sales start in Greece?
Sale calendar. The winter discount season in Greece starts on the second Monday of January and ends at the end of February. Summer sales start on the second Monday of July and continue until the end of August.
Off-season sales in Greece take place in autumn and spring and last for one week. The Greek government is discussing a bill that could cancel mid-season sales from 2022.
Stores and brands. Most Greek shopping centers and outlets are located in Athens:
- shopping centers Attica the Department Store, The Golden Hall, Talos Plaza, Enigma Mall, Athens Heart;
- Αthens Metro Mall, Athens Designer Outlet and Factory Outlet.
In small towns and resorts, you can also visit shopping centers, such as Mediterranean Cosmos in Thessaloniki, Hondos Center in Heraklion, Rhodes and Corfu.
Shop hours. Shopping centers are usually open daily from 10:00 to 21:00, on religious and public holidays, the schedule may change. Small shops take a break for a siesta – “mesimeri” – from 14:00 to 17:00 and do not work on Sundays.
When do sales start in Poland?
Sale calendar. Winter sales in Poland start on the second Monday of January and end at the end of February. Some stores offer discounts on clothes, shoes and appliances as early as December.
The summer sale season starts on the second Monday of July and continues until the end of August.
In Poland, they arrange short off-season sales – from May 1 to 10 and November 1 to 10.
Stores and brands. Large Polish shopping centers and outlets:
- Arkadia, Złote Tarasy, Sadyba Best Mall, M1, Factory in Warsaw;
- Bonarka City Center and Galeria Krakowska in Krakow;
- Fashion House and Madison in Gdansk.
Shop hours. Shopping centers are open daily from 9:00 to 22:00.
The Christmas market in Wroclaw, Poland, as in all European cities, has nothing to do with sales. The discount season usually starts after Christmas or in January
When do sales start in other European countries?
Seasonal sales in European countries most often occur at the same time – January-February and July-August. Sometimes discounts start earlier – in June and November.
Seasonal and Christmas sale dates in Europe
|Country||Summer sales||Christmas sales||Winter sales|
|Netherlands||Late July to mid August||From the end of November to December 6, St. Nicholas Day||Mid-December to end of January|
|Belgium||July 1st to July 31st||Purchases should be postponed until January||January 3rd to 31st|
|Finland||Mid June to mid July||From December 20||Late December to early February|
|Sweden||Mid-July to end of August||Purchases should be postponed until January||From December 25 to the end of February|
|Hungary||Mid July to early September||Purchases should be postponed until January||January to February|
|Lithuania||July 1st to July 31st||Purchases should be postponed until January||January 1st to January 31st|
|Luxembourg||From the end of June to the end of July||Purchases should be postponed until January||End of December to end of January|
How to make shopping during sales comfortable
It will be possible to leave with the right purchase during sales and at the same time not get tired of the crowd if:
- visit stores one or two days before the start of sales in order to try on things in a relaxed atmosphere and choose the right sizes;
- on the first day of sales, come to the stores at the opening, and on other days visit them in the morning;
- go shopping in comfortable clothes that will be easy to take off for trying on;
- use the services of professional stylists: they will help you plan the best route for shopping and save time.
In which country can an investor obtain a residence permit or citizenship for profitable shopping in Europe
European countries. A foreigner with a residence permit in a Schengen country gets access to sales at any convenient time – he does not need to obtain a Schengen visa. The residence permit opens visa-free entry to 32 European countries.
A residence permit in European countries is obtained for work, study, as well as for investments in the country’s economy.
An investor with a residence permit can become a tax resident of an EU country: for this, he needs to spend at least 183 days a year there. Tax residency makes it possible to optimize taxes for individuals and businesses, but deprives them of the right to return VAT on purchases – to issue tax-free – in the EU countries.
A tax resident of an EU country can only receive a tax refund for purchases in countries that are not part of this union, such as Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Participation in investment programs in Malta, Portugal, Greece and Spain does not oblige the investor to change tax residency.