The Balearic government's decision to delay the summer sales this year, in order to cash in on tourists, failed to have the desired effect on sales. Nearly half of traders in Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza have reported that takings during the summer sales were well down on last year and confidence among shopkeepers has taken a further knock because neither the Christmas period nor the winter sales were very successful. The President of the shopkeepers' association Afedeco, Pau Bellinfante, whose organisation canvassed 450 shops across the Balearics with 44.2 percent reporting a drop in sales, said that the fears on the high street in Majorca about delaying the summer sales have been confirmed by the highly negative results. Majorca appears to have suffered the most, the response in Ibiza and Minorca was not as negative, but over all, Bellinfante, said yesterday that what is clear is that the best period over which to hold the sales is during the first two weeks of July, as used to be the case. This year, 51 percent of shopkeepers in Palma and outlying areas said that they sold more than last year, but at the end of the 1999 summer sales, 78 percent had experienced an increase in trade. Bellinfante said that the difference is considerable and the reduction also indicates that holding the summer sales around the tourist industry is a pointless operation which proved unpopular with the general public, many of whom went of shopping trips to the sales on the mainland. But, the situation, according to Bellinfante, has been worsened by the large shopping complexes. The Afedeco president accused the hypermarkets of holding undercover sales throughout the year and being allowed to get away with it.