A NATIONAL Institute of Statistics (INE) report revealed yesterday that the Balearics and the Canary Islands are leading the country's decline in retail trade figures on a year-on-year basis.

For Spain as a whole last August, this sector of commerce experienced a 7.5 percent downturn in trade, in contrast to what had been registreed as a 4.3 percent growth during the same month of 2007. The INE showed that the Balearics and the Canaries were foremost in the slump in comparison to August last year. Employment also suffered as a result of the decline in sales with large retail chain stores as well as the small ones reporting losses in respect of last year. A general overview of trading so far this year, however, shows that hypermarkets and the large chain stores are holding their head above water.