THE large superstores invested 1'462 millions of euros during the last financial year, 22 per cent less than the previous twelve months.
This has been due to the restrictive policy on the granting of new opening licences adopted by self-governing communities such as the Balearics.
This was confirmed yesterday by the director general of the Association of Large Distribution Companies (Anged), Javier Millán-Astray, following the organisation's General Assembly in which the most recently affiliated associates Media Markt and Fnac - participated for the first time. “There is no rational economic explication that justifies this first downturn in investment which, in line with figures for previous years, should have exceeded the 2'000 million euros mark”, pointed out Millán-Astray yesterday. He confirmed that there are ten self-governing regions throughout Spain where a large superstore or hypermarket has not been opened during the entire 12 month period of 2002: Andalucia, the Canary Islands, Castilla y León, the Balearic Islands, Asturias, Cantabria, Aragon, Navarra, Catalunya and the Basque Country. For this financial year, however, he appeared confident that the lifting of the suspension on new permits by the Andalucia government at the end of of June, and the change of commercial policy in Castilla y León will change the downward trend in the level of investment. The director general of Anged added that the large superstores created 11'442 jobs in 2002, giving work in the entire sector to 207'548 people - a figure 5.8 per cent above that of the previous year. Nevertheless, he was specific in stating that the brakes that have been put on investment have been responsible for creating a situation where between 3'000 and 4'000 jobs will now not be offered to the community. The resulting year end figure for 2002 shows this industry's employment quota standing at 12.8 per cent.
Annual sales made in large-scale distribution grew by 3.8 per cent and at the end of the financial year showed a figure of 30'876 millions of euros “quite a position performance that shows wide acceptance on the part of the consumer”. The quantity represents 19.6 per cent of the sales registered by the Spanish retail trade (19.3 per cent in 2001).

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