The increase in the cost of living while at the same time salaries remain low are part of the equation that has seen a fall in local retail sales. According to the Comertia association, sales in small shops fell 1.2% in September compared with the same month last year.
The head of the association, Germán Cid, pointed out that the trend in sales since last year has been downwards, while the 1.5% upturn in sales between May and August of this year is the slightest in the past five years.
According to Cid, the shops hit hardest in September were fashion shops, where turnover fell by 10%, followed by accessories shops and eateries, where sales fell by 2% and 3%, respectively. However, despite the decline, Cid also said that he was “optimistic” that business would go up by some 3.7% in October.
Comertia, which represents family businesses in the sector with a minimum of three sales points and three million euros of turnover, points out that 72% of its members have noticed the slowdown in sales.
Among the issues that most worry the sector is the competition from online giants, such as Amazon, which according to Cid “operate under tax conditions in foreign countries that are much softer than here, even though they use our infrastructures.”