Lack of shoppers because of Omicron. | A. Borras


Small retailers fear that January trading will be more or less lost, despite the winter sales having started and business having been brisk last weekend. However, Omicron has resulted in activity being like it was this time last year, and there are no signs of any improvement in the near future.

Antoni Fuster, president of the Pimeco association, says that there are "very few people on the street" and that it's as if there weren't winter sales. His counterpart at Afedeco, Antoni Gayà, adds that the impact of offers over recent weeks also have to be taken into account. As well as Black Friday, there were town hall discount voucher offers. These produced good trading, but the situation is now "tricky".

January sales usually compensate for low activity in February and March before Easter brings an upturn. For Fuster, therefore, the first quarter "is going to be very tough" As well as a lack of customers, businesses are also having to cope with sick leave. One employee off work and that can mean having to close.

At a meeting with the Balearic government on Wednesday, the employers' associations stressed the need to speed up sick leave procedures. "A couple of days can make a big difference for a small business," says Gayà.

For large retailers, the situation is more positive, even though the head of communications at El Corte Inglés, Antonio Sánchez, recognises that there was a significant downturn after a busy weekend. However, the coming weekend is expected to be good.