Traders hope that consumers will loosen their belts and spend

The winter sales start this morning and shopkeepers hope to offset the drop in pre-Christmas trade. Yesterday there were reports that, last week in the build up to Sunday night's Three Kings, sales did pick up after the Xmas drop in sales of as much as 30 per cent and that the three consecutive Sunday trading days have helped enormously. There appears to be a certain amount of regret in some parts of the commercial sector about the Sunday and bank holiday trading deal reached with the Balearic government.- Again, this yar, holiday trading is restricted to just five Sunday and bank holidays. However, some traders, who have had a tough year, have enjoyed the rewards of Sunday trading over the past month and a rift is opening in the sector between those traders who want the Balearic Sunday trading regulations reviewed and those who do not want change. Balearic consumers will spend over 30 million euros during the two-month long winter sales which represents 40 per cent of their annual expenditure. The commercial sector is braced for two scenarios, a poor winter sales season because of the bad summer season last year or a boom in trade because consumers, worried by the downturn in the tourist industry and feeling the pinch of runaway inflation, tightened their belts, hence the fall in high street spending last year, deciding to wait for the winter sales. Traders are hoping for queues on the high street ahead of opening hours this morning.

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