Staff reporter RETAIL trade in the commerce sector of the Balearic Islands fell in September by 4.3 percent compared to August this year, but rose by 7.6 percent against figures for the same month in 2002. Meanwhile, employment on the Islands in this sector fell by one percent in comparison with the third quarter of last year. The National Institute of Statistics confirmed yesterday that retail trade increased its sales in September in respect of the same month in 2002 in all regions of Spain, but especially in Murcia (by 11.2%) and La Rioja (10.9%). Employment figures in the trade showed greatest growth in Navarra and Catalonia and only suffered falls in the Balearic Islands and the Spanish city of Melilla in North Africa. Looking at all the regions together, retail trade increased by 6.6 percent in respect of the same month of the previous year and by 7.3 percent compared to August this year. Analysing individual Communities, the greatest increases, apart from those of Murcia and La Rioja, were in Navarra, Asturias and Extremadura (more than 9 percent); and at their weakest in Castilla y León, with 3.4 percent. Compared to August this year, growth was most notably registered in Madrid and the Basque Country (above 30% in both cases); while in eight Communities (the Balearic and Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, Valencia and Galicia) and in Melilla in North Africa, figures went down. The study carried out by the National Institute of Statistics made comparisons with the previous quarter (April to June 2003) and with the same period in 2002. Year on year figures show that employment in the sector grew in all Communities, except in Melilla where it fell by 1.7% and in the Balearics by 1%. In contrast, growth in employment was at its greatest in Navarra (5.5%) and Catalonia (5.3%), and at its lowest in Castilla y León (0.5%) and Asturias (0.8%). The national average was a growth figure of 3.7%. Regarding the previous quarter (April to June 2003), employment in the retail trade sector grew in all Communities except La Rioja, Castilla y León, Madrid, Ceuta y Melilla (in North Africa). The most notable growth rates for the quarter were registered in the Basque Country (2%), Galicia (1.6%) and Aragón (1.5%).