Palma.—The small to medium sized business associations, Pimeco and Afedeco, both reported a really poor start to the Winter sales.
Sources for the two bodies said that recent commercial deregulation in the Balearics meant that retailers were able to launch their Winter sales campaigns earlier than usual and many did with the sales getting under way last week on January 2.

However, takings during the first few days of the sales were apparently very poor. “Light years away from what we are used to on the first few days,” retail sector sources reported yesterday.
Improved
Over the past few days, business has apparently improved slightly, but the retail sector is still expecting this year's Winter sales trade to be slower and more negative than last year.

The two organisations, which last month announced they intend to merge in order to give the small business community a stronger lobbying platform as it faces growing competition from the large hypermarkets, claim that the deregulation of the commercial sector has had no positive effect on trade at all.

The biggest problems dogging the retail sector are the increase in IVA (VAT) back in September, Civil Servants having their Christmas double pay axed and the general lack of consumer confidence caused by the on going recession.

Small retailers also claim that the government's decision to scrap the traditional Summer and Winter sales period allowing retailers to offer special discounts and bargains throughout the year has not helped to boost trade because the hyper and supermarkets have hit back with “aggressive” marketing campaigns and savings which small retailers can not compete with.

Sunday opening
Retailers in the centre of Palma are also appearing to be getting bored with Sunday opening with fewer shops open for business all weekend now.

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