Staff Reporter
SMALL business associations in Palma have complained that they fared badly after remaining open for last Monday's Constitution Day, a public holiday in Spain.

Demetrio Peña, president of Pimeco, said yesterday that both his own management organisation, as well as Afedeco, failed to make profits.
Peña is known not to favour opening on Sundays and public holidays, while the president of Afedeco, Bartomeu Servera, believes that it is essential to trade on these occasions in order to compete with the large supermarkets.

In part, Peña attributed last Monday's poor figures to the fact that not all businesses chose to open their doors for the holiday, resulting in the public not being fully aware of which shops were, or were not, open for business.

He signalled that in the traditional shopping streets of the centre of Palma, such as Sindicato and San Miguel, 80 percent of traders opened on Monday, whilst in adjacent areas, the percentage fell to under 20.

In Peña's view, the small traders in Palma are not prepared for Sunday and public holiday opening, either from the point of view of business structure or from a mental standpoint.

He furthered that many local people choose to leave the city at the weekends instead of visiting commercial centres, except those who want to “give a walk around” the large hypermarkets.

Afedeco's president, whilst acknowledging that last Monday was a “poor” day for trade, pointed to the significant results achieved by small businesses which remain open in Palma on Saturday afternoons. Servera highlighted the fact that there had been “massive” support from traders affiliated to his management organisation for opening on Constitution Day, and said that trading the previous weekend had worked out well “on average”.

Servera believed that in order to achieve better results during trading hours over the festive period, “time must be set aside and considerable sacrifice will have to be made”.

He signalled that one of the aims of the new managing board of the traders' association is to “convince” small and medium-sized businesses that they need to extend their opening hours to include Saturday afternoons and the lunchtime period.

Speaking about the Christmas sales campaign, Peña said that there are always high hopes about this time, above all on the sales of toys and gifts. He was sorry, however, that this year, Monday 27 December is classified as a public holiday.

Servera rejected the idea of making predictions in order not to create “false hopes”. “We don't know what percentage of potential customers have already done their Christmas shopping”, he said.

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