By Jason Moore

A recent statistic said that 50 percent of shops in Barcelona and Madrid are now Chinese-owned, quite incredible. In Majorca a sizeable chunk of the high street is owned by French and German retailers. The big hyper-stores are French and some of the smaller budget supermarkets are German owned. Eventhough an estimated two million British tourists coming here on holiday every year plus the 20'000 resident population there are no major British stores present on the island, or even mainland Spain for that matter, bar a few exceptions. So why is it that British retailers can´t make a success of operations in Spain but their German and French counterparts can?

Spanish stores have taken Britain by storm but British stores have so far failed miserably. Marks & Spencers had a network of branches across the mainland but they were closed down. You would have thought that with a large expatriate population Spain would be an ideal choice for Tesco or even John Lewis? But no. Tesco is the world´s third biggest supermarket group but it has decided to cross the Pond rather than come to Spain. There is a big demand for British food products in Spain as a result of the tourist industry. I have even seen some shops in resorts in Majorca selling Tesco milk but no Tesco store. It is rather strange. Perhaps it rather sums up Britain´s feelings towards Europe. While much of British business has a presence in the U.S. in Europe it is sadly missing.


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