OVER half of Palma's shopkeepers claim that the winter sales, which officially come to an end on March 7, have been poor. 53 per cent of small shopkeepers maintain that the sales have been bad while nearly 40 per cent of shopkeepers across Majorca are of the same gloomy opinion. In Palma, 30 per cent say takings during the sales have been the same as last year while 17 per cent do believe that the sales have gone well. Few shop keepers were expecting a bumper winter sales season, despite government claims that the down turn in spending in the run up to Christmas and New Year was because consumers were saving and waiting for the sales. Economic and commerce experts have confirmed that the recession has hit the Balearics and that the outlook for this year is negative, war or not in the Gulf. Recent reports have revealed that business confidence in the Balearics is not very high.