The summer sales have helped retailers. | T. AYUGA

Figures for retail sales in July indicate that there was a 4.4% increase in the Balearics. This was the highest rise in nine months. In October 2018 there had been a 5.3% increase.

Likely reasons for the better sales in July are that the sales season started, there were more tourists and there was also greater consumer spending because of the high level of employment. Nevertheless, the July figure was slightly below the national average - a rise of 4.7%.

The smaller retailers associations, Afedeco and Pimeco, view the figures generated by the National Statistics Institute (INE) with scepticism. This is because the INE considers the retail sector as a whole. Large and multiple retailers' business is quite different to that of neighbourhood shops. Both associations have said on various occasions that the situation in the retail sector is highly unequal and heterogenous.

Adding to the inequality is the fact that while smaller retailers in Palma can benefit from cruise tourism - something that Pimeco highlighted last month - this is obviously not a factor elsewhere. Afedeco and Pimeco have been calling on the Balearic government to create a retail "observatory", an aim of which will be to get a more accurate picture of sales across the whole sector.