THREE companies occupy 60 percent of all commercial areas set aside for food sales in the Balearics. Supermarkets have got the edge on hypermarkets in the Island, which is the reverse situation from the rest of Spain. Eroski, Caprabo and Mercadona are leaders in the food market in the Balearics, respectively claiming 33.1, 14.6 and 12.9 percent of the total commercial area set aside for food supermarket shopping in the region. The figures have been revealed as part of a commercial overview for 2005, documented by the central government Ministry for Industry, Tourism and Commerce. An official source indicated however, that Mercadona could possibly have got the edge on Capabro in the Islands. In Spain as a whole, the leading supermarket is the French conglomerate Carrefour, which lays claim to 18 percent of the market. The government report showed that food supermarket operations have grown in the country as a whole with particular focus on regional development, as has been the case with the Balearics. Bartolome Servera, president of a Balearic business federation, Afedeco, asserted that the growth of the supermarket chains has led to the “virtual disappearance” of traditional food stores. “It's only the specialist shops which remain, but they in fact are on the increase. It's also encouraging to see family supermarket businesses having continued success in tourist areas,” he added.
Angel Pujol, secretary of the Majorcan association of small to medium-sized businesses, Pimeco, highlighted the fact that a variety of food crises over the last few years has actually supported the growth of homegrown quality food retail outlets on the Islands, often under the umbrella of municipal markets. Figures provided by the regional ministry for Commerce show that on Majorca, there are currently 400 small food and drink shops as against 306 supermarkets, hypermarkets, and bargain price commercial centres. Added to this are the department stores which of course, offer a much wider range of goods for sale other than food. The small and medium-sized business associations, such as Pimeco, want to keep legal pressure on the larger stores in terms of when they can be open to the public on traditional bank holidays.