By Jason Moore

AT last Balearic shopkeepers have started to move with the times. The sales period, which was once closely regulated by the local authorities, has been brought forward so that the Balearics is now in line with the rest of the country. I could never really understand why shops on the mainland were allowed to slash their prices from July 1, while in the Balearics we had to wait until the middle of the month. But hard times call for hard decisions. Yesterday, there were literally thousands of bargain hunters out and about in Palma of all nationalities, taking advantage of some fantastic offers. Even Sunday opening is now looking a distinct possibility. But what I don´t understand is why it has taken the worst recession in Spanish history for the shopkeepers in Palma to get their act together. In some ways the local authorities were to blame. Sunday opening was banned and the sales calender was closely regulated. Even the opening of new super-stores across the island was banned. But times are changing and it is probably a case of better late than never. Hopefully, the new Balearic government will allow more Sunday opening, especially during the summer months when Palma is a popular stop-off point for cruise-ships. What shopkeepers, large and small, must realise is that shopping is an important part of the tourist trade. For this reason shops need more flexible opening hours to help the industry.

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