Retailers have in fact been complaining about poor trading for some considerable time. | Teresa Ayuga

Local retail businesses in Majorca believe that 2018 has witnessed the start of a return to crisis. Findings from a questionnaire of 200 businesses by the Afedeco smaller retailers association show that 72% believe their sales have decreased and that 2018 has been worse than 2017.

In presenting the results yesterday, the president of Afedeco, Toni Gayà, said that they contradict those given earlier in the week by the National Statistics Institute, which indicated an increase in sales over recent months. The Afedeco survey was, he maintained, more in touch with "the reality on the streets". The institute's findings were "generic" and likely to "confuse public opinion".

Gayà called for the creation of a Balearic retail observatory to gather empirical data by sector that would not be generalised. He also criticised a recent report by the Aetib tourism strategy agency for having been "excessively optimistic". That report stated that the summer season had been "very good", but it had taken into account a fall in tourist numbers in July and reductions in the number of overnight stays. Moreover, holiday rentals had become "very limited" and this was harming retailers.

As for 2019, forecasts "are not very optimistic". Gaya pointed to the fact that "tourism is travelling to destinations that are not the Balearics" and stressed the need for something to be done to improve 2019.