By Humphrey Carter

THE winter sales, as we reported yesterday, finally got underway in the Balearics this morning but whether they will serve to lift the doom and gloom on the high streets remains to be seen.

Palma's shop traders appear to have been the worst hit in the Balearics by the recession with three quarters of the city's retail sector complaining that Christmas sales have been the lowest for many years, well down on last year for example.

And, contrary to the expectation of the department stores and shopping centres, the small to medium- sized retail sector is braced for the worst in the winter sales.

According to the monthly survey carried out by the small business association, 76 percent of Palma's traders reported sluggish sales this Christmas and 90 percent claimed that levels of trade fell well short of last year.


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