By Humphrey Carter
THE retail sector, gripped by a miserable summer sales period, is demanding a government cash injection of 20 million euros next year to help fund a complete overhaul of high street trading.

Over two thirds of shop keepers have complained about a slump in trade during the first month of the sales, the final straw for the retail sector which needs extra cash to modernise itself and plan for the future.

According to a survey carried out over the past few days, nearly 40 percent of shopkeepers have also said that the idea to bring the start of the sales forward a week, was a bad one which has not paid off.

The survey, carried out by Afedeco, the Federation of Balearic Commercial Businesses, canvassed the views of 300 shopkeepers across the Balearics and 39.68% say, compared to last summer's sales, trade is down.

34 .92% claim the level of trade, so far, is on par to last year while 14% have reported an increase in trade.
The two businesses worst hit have been the souvenir/gift sector and the textile stores.
However, shops on the outskirts of Palma and in Mahon, Minorca, are the ones which claim to be suffering the most.
This year, the start of the sales was brought forward. In the past the sales have always started two weeks later than the mainland in a bid to cash in on the tourists. However this year, the local government decided to cut its losses, but the areas worst hit are the resorts.

Shopkeepers which claim to have seen trade slump the most are all in key coastal holiday destinations.
The only two areas where traders claim to be happy with the sales are Jaime III and Bonaire in the centre of Palma.
Opponents to the early start of the sales claim that, apart from being too early to cash in on the peak of the tourist season, consumers were left confused as to when the sales were actually due to get underway.

The commercial federation yesterday called for an end to the winter and summer sales dates being renegotiated every year and for the local government to respect the retail sector's wishes.

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