Rainy Days for Shoppers

End of season sales have come to the stores early this year as desperate retailers continue efforts to entice people into shops despite unseasonably warm and dry weather and an ongoing economic crisis.

"If anyone's buying anything it's because the sales have started earlier," said TNT clothes shop manager Cochi Ben Shoshan in Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Center, where most of the shops have sale signs on their window.

"We've started sales that we were planned for a month and a half from now. People are buying sweatshirts, scarves, coats...stocking up. Before we reduced prices people spent less, looking for T-shirts and light tops. It's both the warm weather and the recession," she said.

"We've had a 15 percent drop in receipts, despite the bargains, because of the weather and the recession," said the Renuar Men manager. "People are buying fewer coats and jackets because it's still warm."

"Every year it's something else," complained Wedgie manager Motti Klein. "In previous years the real winter began late. This year we've had a few cold spells and rains but the recession and the war are keeping shoppers away. The sales helped us through the season," he said.

"We sell children's umbrellas and slippers. A little rain and the parents come to buy," said Happening manager Yaakov Darai. "Slippers are in demand by both children and adults regardless of rain."

"Fleece pajamas are too warm and there's no demand for hats and non-slip socks," said Tal, a saleswoman in Paradiso.

"We're selling 70 percent fewer umbrellas and there's no point in ordering new ones," said Zvika Ben Ari, manager of Steve's Backpacks.