FOR weeks now...if not months retailers have been busy advertising their 'Black Friday' sales. I thought to myself that this year it would be a real shopping bonanza, with social distancing and face masks.

At lunchtime yesterday I headed to the Avenida Jaime III in Palma expecting to find long lines of queues. But nothing. A quiet, grey day on the high street with a handful of shoppers. You could tell that shops were expecting more, sales staff had been primed to show you all the special offers. Retailers had slashed their prices without a doubt but shoppers were unimpressed.

The problem is not COVID but the massive growth in online shopping since COVID. I suspect that 'Black Friday' was a big success for retailers but the buyers were sitting at home on their computers rather than walking up and down in search of bargains. This is the dawn of a new era which is going to hit the high street hard. Of course, money is tight and we are at the end of the month but I was still amazed to see how relatively empty Palma was yesterday.

It just makes you ponder how shops are going to survive if they do not have a big online presence. Of course, it is also difficult to see how the smaller shops will survive as they can't compete against the mass discounting of their larger counterparts. What is evidently clear is that shopping practices have changed and will continue to change even further. It just makes you wonder how the high street will look in the future.