SPAIN’S retail industry has seen seven months of consecutive growth, with profits having increased, year-on-year by 2%. It seems negligible, yet it translates into millions of euros, nationwide.
The 2108 Easter campaign was split over March and April while, this year, it fell entirely at the end of April and tourism figures were disappointing.
That was down to poor weather, leading to many of the main parades being rained off. But even allowing for differences in dates, April 2019 sales are up 1.1% against those of the same 2018 period.
The source of these figures has not yet been confirmed, but is likely to come from fiscal data, the National Institute of Statistics (INE) and the Spanish Trade Confederation (CEC).
According to the latter, the seven-month continuous growth in sales has mainly benefited high-street chain stores, department stores and large shopping centres, rather than smaller boutiques, plus family-run or medium-sized local shops, which saw a 0.5% reduction in their year-on-year takings.
The CEC calls this a “chronic problem” but says the majority of the industry’s free-standing shops are working hard on “reconversion”, realising that the only formula for the survival of thousands of businesses lies in becoming as competitive as possible, and going digital.
For this to happen, boutiques and local shops need to be declared a strategic sector, says the CEC, to enable them to benefit from State funding.
Larger retail companies are reporting success, however, with a 1.1% increase in sales at service stations, as well as 2.1% in all other areas of the industry.
Food sales increased by 4%, household equipment by 2.8%, and all other goods by 0.4%, except clothing and accessories, which fell by 1.3%.
Small chains reported a 4.3% rise in sales in April, the most recent full month for which figures are available, while the takings of national and international chains grew by 4.2% and department stores by 2.2%.
Overall, retail earnings rose in 14 of Spain’s 17 autonomously-governed regions, with the four that attract the most tourists seeing the greatest hikes: the Balearic Islands (3.5%), Andalucía (3.2%), Madrid (2.9%), and the Canary Islands (2.5%).
These improved results, in most parts of the country, led to a small employment rise in the sector, with 2.4% in service stations and 1% elsewhere.
Only in the land-locked western region of Extremadura did employment in retail go down last month, by 0.2%, and those which saw the greatest increases in new jobs were Navarra (1.8%), the east-coast region of the Comunidad Valenciana (1.5%), and the Balearic Islands (1.4%).
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