The first sales of the new millennium have been something of a flop, according to the commercial sector in Palma. A survey carried out by the Association of Commercial Federations (Afedeco), which canvassed 2'000 of its members, has revealed that the winter sales, which officially end this week, witnessed a drop in business, sales and customers. The President of the Association, Pau Bellinfante, said yesterday that 19 per cent of shopkeepers were unhappy with the winter sales in 1998; last year the figure dropped to 13 per cent, but this year it has risen to just under 16 per cent. Bellinfante said that those 16 per cent have said that their business is “not going well.” But, compared to the fall in sales, the number of unhappy shopkeepers is minimal. In 1998, 32 per cent of stores sold less than during the previous year's winter sales; in 1999 that figure improved slightly to 23.5 per cent but “surprisingly, this year 38.5 per cent of shops have sold less,” Bellinfante said. It was not just the winter sales which have fallen flat, but sales over Chrsitmas and New Year were also down on previous years. According to Afedeco, Christmas sales were down by five per cent.

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