Palma's small business association, Pimeco, yesterday confirmed that the results of the summer sales will be negative. According to the association, the city's shopkeepers are not expecting to see any improvements in takings on the winter by last year's summer sales. With just a few days remaining a spokesperson for Pimeco said yesterday that the combination of all the road works being carried out across the city centre and the fact that the large chain-stores and hypermarkets are continually offering discounts has hit the independent trader hard this year. Anther set of negative results will bring the association into conflict with the local government over the Ministry for Commerce's failure to act in its members best interests. The local government claims that it is trying to defend small businesses and guarantee their future by preventing any more hypermarkets from being built - but quite simply the road work-caused traffic chaos in the centre of Palma, which has been going on for the past 18 months, has turned hundreds of shoppers away from the city and out to the hypermarkets - special offers or not.

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