The move was announced by the region’s economy and treasury minister at a retail industry conference this week.
María del Pilar del Olmo, a minister for conservative (PP) regional government, said the proposal was needed to stamp out what has become a common practice by thrifty shoppers.
She explained that too many shoppers are using the option, not as a means to “try before they buy”, but rather to find the right item and correct size before then sourcing the outfit online at a cheaper price.
The practice is proving a challenge not for large chain stores such as Zara, which offer online shopping, but for small boutiques whose fashions can also be ordered cheaper from websites such as ASOS.
“One of the hallmarks of Spain is the existence of physical and often bespoke shops in town and city centres and, of course, frequently in villages, too; and the only way to ensure they survive is by seeking out innovative ideas,” she said at the conference in Madrid on Tuesday.
“This does not necessarily mean shops will definitely start charging for trying on – this is just an example (of what could be done),” she added, suggesting that this was one of many proposals being considered by a working committee on trade in the region.
But the suggestion was met with instant criticism by consumers who according to online polls said they wouldn’t pay to try on clothes.