THE hypermarkets and department stores which opened on Sunday claimed that they had 30 percent more customers than the last Sunday-opening just over a month ago.
The claim was made yesterday by Bartomeu Sitjar, Balearic spokesman for Anged, the association which defends their interests.
He viewed the situation positively, particularly in view of the criticism from the small traders and Balearic minister of commerce Josep Joan Cardona.
Sitjar pointed out that they were acting legally in opening and denied that there had ever been a gentlemen's agreement with the small traders to open on only five Sundays or public holidays a year, even though 12 opening days had been approved initially. We are complying with the calendar, he said yesterday.
He attributed the increase in customers to a better advertising campaign and the sales, although he stressed that the chief aim was not the financial reward but to attend to the needs of consumers.
However, Bartomeu Servera, the new head of Afedeco, which defends small and medium-sized businesses, warned we do not consider the battle lost, adding that they were awaiting the new regulations which the central government is drawing up.
He also said that small traders in the Balearics should explain to consumers why there should only be Sunday opening on five days a year, pointing out that the big stores already stay open until 10pm Mondays to Saturdays.
The major stores have been accused of trying to destroy the traditional commercial framework of the islands.
But despite claims from both sides, there is still a lot of confusion about which shops open and for how long.
Some supermarket chains, for example, restricted Sunday opening to a few branches, and remained open only until mid-day.
The shops at some big complexes such as Festival Park were closed, disappointing many people who drove out there.
On the whole, the hypermarkets fared better than the department stores, and a lot of the blame was put on the weather, people preferring to spend the day on the beach rather than trying to pick their way through the building works taking place in many parts of the city centre.