By Humphrey Carter

THE summer sales get under way in the Balearics this morning with prices being slashed by between 40 and 50 percent, according to the retail sector.
The President of the Small to Medium Retail Association, Bernat Coll, said over the weekend that shops are going to be offering “the biggest discounts in history”.

However, retailers are expecting the summer sales takings to be ten percent lower than usual.
According to Coll, there are going to be less goods on sale because some of the unsold summer items have been shifted over the past few weeks through `pre-sales discounts and offers and also because the retail sector did not order as much as usual because of the credit crunch and downturn in high street sales.

He also said that the size of the first week discounts are going to be unprecedented.
The smaller retailers are going to be kicking off the sales with saving of between 40 and 50 percent, something which is most unusual according to Coll who added that, come the end of the sales, prices will be reduced by over 60 percent.

However, the sales period is not expected to last the normal two months because retailers want to shift the unsold summer items as quickly as possible.

The President of the Association of Balearic Commercial Businesses (Afedeco), Bartomeu Servera, is confident that the sales will lift consumers confidence and that retailers will successfully sell their mountains of stock. “Many consumers have been eagerly awaiting the start of the sales. They may have cut back on spending in order to save money for the bargains, so we should see plenty of retail activity over the next few weeks,” he said.

On average, here in the Balearics, people are expected to spend 90 euros per person in the sales, the lowest for a decade, and most of that is going to be spent on clothing, footwear and accessories.

This summer, Palma's retail sector hopes that the new Thursday night shopping campaign , which begins this Thursday, will also help to lift sales.
Starting this week, many city centre shops are going to stay open until midnight and a host of live entertainment is going to be staged across the city centre to breathe some life into the capital on the eve of the weekends.

The initiative, devised by the Palma Hotel Federation, is aimed at the domestic market, holiday makers and cruise passengers.