While the Balearic government sets about finalising its plans for the introduction of the tourist tax in time for next summer, the commercial sector on each one of the Balearic islands has been asked to decide when the best time is to hold the summer sales in order to capitalise as much as possible on tourists. It has already been announced that this summer, the sales in Majorca will start three weeks later on the third Monday of July when the tourist season is reaching its peak, but yesterday the Minister for Commerce and Economy, Pere Sampol, said that this summer's sales will be used as a pilot scheme and that the results will be examined at the end of the season. On a domestic front the sales over the past few years, winter and summer, have proved disappointing for local traders and the summer sales period need to be moved in order to cash in on tourists. However, each island will be able to set its own dates, depending on when traders feel the most profitable period is. The local government's plan has been attacked by the big superstores, but the Minister for the Economy says that he is acting in the best interests of shopkeepers and society. Sampol has made it clear over the past year that one of his prime concerns is defending the livelihoods of the small business and shopkeeping community in the Balearics in the face of hypermarkets and shopping centres. The opposition Partido Popular criticised Sampol's announcement yesterday, saying competition's good but Sampol defended his actions claiming that shopkeepers need protecting as they play a vital role in the employment sector and contribute a great deal to the local economy.