THE Balearic Islands is the region of Spain which has registered the greatest downturn in retail sales (3.9 percent) during the first 11 months of this year, the National Institute of Statistics reported yesterday. Only the Spanish city of Ceuta in North Africa has reported a higher slump (4.3 percent) for the same period.

The figures for the Balearics which were calculated comparing results for the same period in 2009, said the INE, contrast strongly with the downturn in trade for the country as a whole from January to November this year which was registerd as just 1.3 percent.

Looking at the Institute's research for the month of November only and discounting inflation, retail trade fell by 1 percent across the country as a whole in comparison with the same month in 2009. In the Balearic Islands, however, the year-on-year downturn was 1.8 percent.

Employment in the retail trade was also more adversely affected in the Balearics than it was in the country as a whole. Year-on-year job loss at a national level was 0.7 percent whilst it was down a full 1 percent in the Islands.

The only operators in the retail trade who did better business last month than in November 2009 were the large chain stores.
Their year-on-year sales figures were up by 3.3 percent whilst results for small to medium-sized shops for the same period were down by 4.4 percent.
The chain stores also proved to have had more success in their “year to date” figures.
On average, sales were up by 2.1 percent in comparison with the same period in 2009.

Year-on-year sales volumes, with the exception of those at petrol stations were down 0.6 percent last month said the Institute. Although 0.8 percent more food items were sold, there was a decline of 1.6 percent in the non-comestible sector.

Job losses were most acute in small businesses (3.4 percent) but the number of contracts in chain stores and department stores were up by 0.6 and 0.4 percent respectively. According to region, year-on-year sales slumped the most in Andalucia last month (by 3 percent) and in the Basque Country (by 2.9 percent).

There were a few success stories in Castilla y Leon, Catalonia and Cantabria where year-on-year sales were up by 1.8, 1.4 and 1.2 percent respectively.
Jobs were lost in the retail trade in 11 regions of the country headed by Castilla La Mancha where a 2 percent downturn was registered. In Cantabria however, employment in the sector increased by 1 percent last month.