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STAFF REPORTER THE Corte Ingles department stores in Palma were major consumers of the Islands' products last year, providing business for no less than 774 suppliers to the tune of nearly 60 million euros.

The company reported yesterday that the figure was slightly above investment made in the Balearics in 2007. More than a half of their purchases (30.4 million euros) were made from 53 shoe manufacturers, and nearly 5 million was spent with 160 food companies in the Islands, including vineyards, olive oil producers, cured meat and pastry specialists, and fruit and vegetable suppliers.

The decision to “buy Balearic” is part of Corte Ingles' commitment to support the regional economy and to boost the image of its products outside the Islands. The store also gave space in its luxury item department to Majorcan companies specialising in jewellery and watches such as Relojeria Alemana and Isabel Guarch where they trade under their own brand names.