Sometimes I am rather baffled at retail practices on this island, especially when numerous small traders say that they are being forced out of business. Earlier this week I went to the Olivar market in the late evening because there is a big supermarket on the second floor.

The supermarket was packed but the meat and vegetables stands on the ground floor were all closed. Infact, there was an eerie silence on the ground floor. A large number of stalls all closed as people headed upstairs to the supermarket. Surely some of the stalls could cash-in on the late evening shoppers and stay open abit longer?

The fresh fruit and vegatable area of the supermarket was packed with people ; I thought to myself that this was rather sad really especially when you consider that the Olivar market is known for its fresh fruit and vegetables. Now, the stall holders will argue that they open early in the morning and close at lunch-time because these have always been their working hours. But times are changing and shops and stalls no longer have the luxury of being able to decide when to open and close.

They need to be open at times when shoppers are about; in the early evenings, at weekends, etc. I know this will increase their staffing costs and even make staff more difficult to recruit but perhaps it is the way forward if the tide of shop closures on the High Street is to be turned. It is a question of re-inventing themselves or facing some very difficult decisions.