By Humphrey Carter

THE Majorcan retail sector yesterday reported a very slight improvement in trade during June in comparison to May, but stressed that the overall situation is very poor on the island's high streets.

One in five traders believe that the weather and the special offers are responsible for the gentle increase in sales - however, the majority of retailers maintain that the situation is still “very negative” and business is far worse than the same period last year.

Worst hit appears to be Palma where 75 percent of retailers said sales were poor last month, although some traders have reported an improvement in confidence ahead of the peak of the summer season next week's summer sales.

Outside of Palma, 65 percent of the retail sector complained of another poor month.
Retail associations said yesterday that consumer confidence continues to be low and the situation on the high streets is “extremely delicate”.
The main concern if for the small shops and, in the short term, there are growing fears that many are going to be forced to close or at least begin another wave of job cuts.

The problem the small traders are facing is that they are unable to match the offers and discounts being offered by the larger stores and hypermarkets.

However, yesterday the Balearic Consumers in Action organisation warned consumers not to get carried away by the discounts and offers which are going to be made in the summer sales which begin here in the Balearics on July 7.

The organisation is advising people to draw up a sales plan and to only purchase what is really needed. “Leave your credit cards at home” is one piece of advice from the organisation which is urging people against “compulsive” buying.
The consumer groups also believe that the retail sector should ask the local government to bring the start of the sales in line with the rest of the country.

The summer sales began on July 1 in the rest of the country and the Consumers in Action believes that falling in line with the rest of Spain will benefit the Balearic retail sector.

The principal, reason for the delay in the start of the sales is to catch the peak of the tourist season but, the organisation believes that local consumers would prefer the sales to start on time.

The sales are expected to begin with a bang with some huge discounts being made as the retail sector desperately tries to shift all its unsold summer items.

The best bargains are going to be had during the first few days and the sales are not expected to last the normal two months.