The Christmas shopping season has, so far, been disappointing for most shopkeepers in Palma. Efforts by Palma city council to bring some extra festive cheer to the city centre by organising live entertainment and attractions have apparently failed to encourage people to spend. President of the commercial federation Afedeco, Pablo Bellinfante, said yesterday that some shops have reported trade down between 15 and 20 per cent on last year while others claim to have suffered a 30 per cent fall in takings. On the whole, high street trading is on par with 1999, which means that shop keepers have seen three years of hard work and steady growth wiped off the slate. Bellinfante said that it is obvious, with the economy and livelihoods so dependent on tourism, when we have a bad year, everyone suffers and people spend less. “Apart from inflation and the euro price hikes, consumers are worried about recession and are not spending,” he said. Despite the Three Kings still to come at the start of next week, many high street stores have opted to take a gamble and launch special winter offers ahead of the winter sales. Although some shops risk legal action from the government for holding “sales” outside the two permitted sales periods, traders want to try and boost takings. With the euro zone facing a recession in the New Year and the Balearic inflation running away at record levels, shop keepers are again hoping for a bumper winter sales period, but many realise that the reality is a quiet winter on the high streets as consumers feel the pinch and tighten their belts.

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