The peseta is disappearing much faster than expected and yesterday in Palma, staff at the Bank of Spain were busy counting and shipping out pesetas to head office in Madrid. Last night, figures claimed that 94 per cent of people in Spain have now got euros, but still only 39 per cent are actually using the new currency. However, leading supermarket chains and department stores are confident that by the end of next week, the majority of purchases will be carried out in euros. Sources for Carrefour said that yesterday, 21 per cent of transactions were in euros, up on the previous day's 15 per cent. In general, 26 per cent of supermarket consumers are paying in euros, 21 per cent with credit cards and the remaining 53 per cent with the peseta. However, many of the 53 per cent are waiting for the queues in the banks to start thinning next week before getting their euros. Just under three-quarters of shops are returning change in euros, the remainder, most of which are small shops, claim that they have been unable to get euros this week and have criticised banks for failing to have been sufficiently organised. The Bank of Spain was forced to admit yesterday that the carefully mastered distribution plan has failed because of the unexpectedly large demand from banks in the Balearics and across Spain for euros in order to meet the avalanche of people who have spent the past four days queuing up for the single currency. The queues built up again yesterday in Balearics' banks, but there are no longer concerns about the general public's response and acceptance of the euro; the spotlight is now on the commercial sector. Despite the complaints and excuses from shop keepers, Balearic banks hope that all traders will have seen sense and made sure that they are holding euros before the winter sales start on Monday. Otherwise the confusion and complications will not be caused by the consumers who complained again yesterday about shop keepers rounding up too much, but ironically by the store owners and the lack of forward thinking which could cost shop keepers money. Balearic bank Sa Nostra announced yesterday that it will be opening eight branches today in order to meet demand for euros and offer shop keepers one final lifeline before 9am Monday morning. Demand from the commercial sector is also expected to rise today with the final day's shopping for Three Kings presents. In Majorca, Sa Nostra's Palma branches in Jaime III, Blanquerna and Plaza Mayor will be open between 10.30am and 1pm while their Manacor branch in plaza de sa Mora de Manacor and their Inca branch in calle Jaume Armengol will also be opening.
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