Artist impression of the new Fan Mallorca Shopping retail complex that will open next spring. | MM


A study by economists Enrique Cañizares and Anton-Giulio Manganelli shows that the spread of large commercial retail centres between 2005 and 2014 was lower in the Balearics than anywhere else in the country.

Using data from the association for commercial centres and the National Statistics Institute, the economists have discovered that in 2014 the Balearics had the lowest rentable surface per 1,000 head of population. This amounts to 172 square metres for every 1,000 people and is almost 50% below the national average of 331. The nearest region to the Balearics is Catalonia with 196.

Since October 2002, which is when Festival Park opened, there has been no new centre of this type. The others - Porto Pi, Carrefour Coll d'en Rebassa, Alcampo and Carrefour Palma - were built between the 1970s and 1990s. The only developments since 2002 have been expansions to two of these - Carrefour Coll d'en Rebassa in 2006 and Porto Pi the following year.

Carrefour, which has been present in Majorca since 1977. has been increasing this presence. Through single or shared ownership, it has 64% of the total commercial centre space, and thanks to its new commercial centre - Fan Mallorca Shopping, which will open next year, replete with Primark - this will rise to 71%.

This dominant position in Majorca is set to be reinforced if the Palma Springs project by Unibail-Rodamco for Ses Fontanelles in Playa de Palma doesn't go ahead.

The economists believe that the fact that there has been so little growth is due to "restrictive policy" and major obstacles preventing new centres. They also take the view that Palma Springs would be in the general interest of consumers on account of the way in which commercial centres compete with each other in attracting the most appealing brands.