Online selling, large shopping malls - two reasons for the loss of small shops. | Pere Bota


Since 2008, the number of shops in the Balearics has decreased by almost 5,000 - 4,967 to be precise. This figure, provided by the finance ministry, contrasts with an increase in the total number of businesses.

There were 19,338 shops in 2008. Last year there were 14,371. The total number of businesses has risen to 101,236, a low point having been 2014 when there were 84,270.

José Antonio Caldés, the Balearic government's director-general for business, the self-employed and trade, says: "The figures show that there are certain types of retail business, especially small and local ones, that have closed. The reason, above all, is the change in the consumption model. Online sales have increased; consumers have changed how they buy products."

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The government's trade plan focuses on three key areas: digitalisation and online business; new business models in line with consumer demand; enhanced visibility of businesses.

Caldés highlights the value of local initiatives. Various municipalities have established catalogues of 'emblematic shops' and run special discount schemes, the latter having been a development during the pandemic.

In his view, a combination of such initiatives and improved training and qualification can assist in moving small shops towards "new models". "Along with digitalisation, we believe that businesses will be able to adapt much better to the competitive environment and that we can cut the numbers that are closing."