Staff Reporter

PALMA
THE winter sales are proving to be “the worst in the past ten or 15 years” according to Bartomeu Servera, president of the business association Afedeco, although he went on to say that despite the drop in sales of footwear and clothing caused by high autumn temperatures, 2006 was “a moderately good year.” Servera, who represents small and medium-sized shops, presented two reports, one on the sector's financial situation, and one on the winter sales, which started on January 8.

The report on the sales was compiled from a survey among 200 traders in Majorca, conducted on January 15 and 16, and indicates that more traders considered the first week of the sales as bad or average than good.

The report indicates that 36 per cent of those consulted said that the sales results were “positive” compared to 35 and 22 per cent who described them as “average” or “bad” respectively.

As to the first day of the sales, 40.5 per cent described it as good, compared to 35.5 and 14.5 per cent who said it had been “average” or “bad” in that order.

In the textile sector, 40 per cent considered the first day of the sales to have been good, compared to 50 per cent in previous years. This percentage dropped to 32.17 per cent for the first week of discounts.

The high temperatures have been blamed for the drop in sales of heavy clothing and footwear.
Not even higher discounts have helped reverse the trend -- most traders in the textile sector have slashed prices by 31 to 50 per cent, when at the start of sales a 20 per cent reduction is the norm.

Servera said that there was concern in the sector about finding an outlet for stocks, which also means that the traders have less money to spend on new stock.

As to the Christmas and Three Kings season, 25 per cent of the traders said it barely passed muster.
The second report in which 300 traders were consulted between January 10 and 25 asked whether or not the winter sales should be brought forward. Nineteen per cent said yes, 57.3 per cent voted for maintaining the current date and 23.66 per cent wanted them to start later.

But, Servera said, 2006 could be considered a “moderately good” year with an increase in sales of four to six per cent.
According to the report, however, 62 per cent of the traders said that there had been no change in volume of sales, compared to 29.66 per cent who said that they had gone up.

Most traders said that the number of customers had gone up but their purchasing power had dropped; 57 per cent said they had not put up prices and 35 per cent that they had gone up by less than ten per cent.

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