Staff Reporter PIMECO, the small and medium-sized business association in the Balearics, applauded a proposal made yesterday by Palma City Council and the local government to help boost trade in the city centre. The idea is to set up a trial period this coming April and May to allow free parking for the customers of small traders in Palma. The head of the association, Agustí Pujol, signalled that the proposal is still being studied in conjunction with other participants on the Board of Commerce who want to know more detail on how the costs of this campaign will be shouldered. Additionally, in Pujol's view, those living in and around Palma, or those who come from outside to shop, need to be more fully informed on how they can best take advantage of the network of parking concessions that will be made to them as customers of the traders in the city centre. He said that it is “absolutely essential” for Palma that customers have easy access to the places where they are going to spend their money. According to PIMECO's leader, the aim of this free campaign is to encourage in shoppers the “habit” of using the parking facilities made available to them as a springboard for crossing the centre of Palma. Pujol sees this convenience as an enormous advantage. The head of PIMECO went on to assess the first month of the New Year sales. He considered initial results as being “positive” for the traders of the island, above all in meeting their principal objective which is to sell off the winter season stock. Pujol explained that the first week of winter sales produced sound business, but afterwards there was a stagnant sale period. In the second fortnight, however, the traders had managed to improve their takings in the main sale attractions (fashion, shoes and accessories) by offering major reductions. The main reason for the bumper start to the sales, albeit short lived, was that many retailers started by offering discounts in the region of between 50 and 70 percent, normally saved until the end of the sales.