THERE are too many shops in the Balearics, according to Bartolome Servera, president of Afedeco (Balearic Shopkeepers Federation), who reckons there are 25 per cent too many. But his opinion is not backed by Pimeco (small and medium sized business association).
According to the National Institute of Statistics, there were 21'664 shops in the Balearics last year.
This is far too many, according to Servera, who says that the matter has been aggravated in recent years by the reduction in spending power of visitors and by a drop in domestic consumption, which has affected the balance sheets of local shops and businesses. The answer to all this, he claimed, is in specialisation and in better training and higher standards, as the efforts made by some shops, in opening longer, for example at lunchtime and Saturday afternoons, is not having any significant results. This has led to many businesses closing down, faster than new businesses open up.
Angel Pujol, the secretary general of Pimeco, agreed with Servera about the low spending power of tourists.
As he sees it, the way around this problem is developing residential tourism, rather than hotels, especially in the Spanish market. “Majorca should become a destination for second homes, to break the reliance on the all inclusive and the dictatorship of the tour operators,” Pujol said. He pointed out that shops provide between 45'000 and 46'000 stable jobs in the islands.
Pujol criticised the Balearic tourism ministry for basing its promotion strategy almost exclusively on hotel tourism, and not on initiatives such as the “shopping promotion” which Pimeco carries out in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce and the TUI group. But Pimeco does not accept Servera's claim that there are 25 per cent too many shops. “There are not too many shops, there is too much all inclusive,” he said, adding that if there is an excess supply then the market itself will make it disappear. He pointed out that the businesses which have fared worst are those selling high quality goods, particularly footwear and artificial pearls, while the number of souvenir shops has remained practically invariable since the 1960s.

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