Palma.— The National Institute of Statistics (INE) which reports to Central Government said that the Balearic Islands is at the same time the region which registered the highest downturn in employment in the retail trade during August this year (3.5%) in comparison with the same month in 2011.

At a national level, sales in the retail trade experienced a 2.1% year-on-year downturn last month. However, the decline was not so great last month in Spain as it had been in July when a -7% inter annual decline had been recorded.

With this downturn confirmed for August, the retail trade has now had 26 consecutive months of falling sales. In the first eight months of 2012, the retail sector registered a fall of 5.2% in its sales in comparison with the same period in 2011.

According to the INE, however, the sale of food products rose by 0.2% in August, while non-comestibles fell by 3.5%.
At service stations, sales of fuel fell by 5.2 percent last month in comparison with August last year.
Most regions of the country registered year-on-year losses in retail trade. Only La Rioja, the Basque Country and Extremadura reported upturns in sales of 0.6%, 0.3% and 0.1% respectively. The greatest losses were registered in the Canary Islands (-6.5%), Castilla-La Mancha (-6%) and the Balearic Islands (-5.5%).

Job losses
Meanwhile, employment in the retail sector in August this year fell by 1.2% in comparison with the same month in 2011, one decimal point less than the inter annual downturn registered in July.

With the exception of September 2011 when there was no year-on-year difference in employment figures for the retail sector, levels of unemployment in the retail sector have been declining continuously since August 2008. All distribution outlets cut their staffing levels last month with the exception of the large hypermarkets where jobs rose by 1%. The highest numbers of job losses on a year on year basis were noticed in the small chain stores (-3.6%) followed by department stores (-2.9%) and individual shops (-0.9%). The Balearics had the highest job losses (-3.5%), followed by Asturias and Navarre, both with -2.4% .