The winter sales start in Catalunya today and retailers predict that there will be an increase in the amount spent this year (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Businesses reckon they will see their sales during the rebaixes rise between three and four percent compared to last year; in addition, there will be more goods on sale compared to 2010, with some six or seven percent more items available at reduced price during the sales period, which will last the next two months until March 6th. However, the general secretary of the Commercial Confederations of Catalunya and of Spain, Miguel Ángel Fraile, who reported these forecasts, added that businesses wouldn't be making more money than last year, due to the significant price reductions that they will be applying to left-over stock - these could be between 30 and 50 percent in the first days of the sales, as a way to attract clients. The business community is reportedly also happy with the way that the timing of the sales has fallen this year, with the start of the sales today kicking off a three-day weekend of shopping, given that on Sunday shops will be allowed to open as is traditional on the first weekend of the rebaixes here.
The income of discos in Catalunya is not, so far, being negatively affected by the new ban on smoking in many interior spaces, according to the Catalan Federation of Associations of Muscial Recreation Activities (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The organisation's secretary general, Joaquim Boadas, says that smokers are complying with the new law without any problems and as such, he doesn't expect the legislation to have a negative effect on the businesses represented by the federation. In fact, Boadas said that the banning of smoking in nightclubs has seen a rise in the number of clubs that smokers visit as they go outside to have a cigarette and then move onto a different club, where before they would just have stayed in the same place for longer. As a result, he believes that the clubs will benefit from a greater volume of customers. In addition, it is forecast that non-smokers will start going more to discos because of the new law, which will also benefit the businesses' turnover.
Xavier Trias, the Convergència i Unió (CiU) candidate for Barcelona's municipal elections to be held in May, says that he won't make a pact with the Catalan Socialist Party to get into power (read article in Catalan here, Avui). Although in recent times, Trias has shown himself willing to work in partnership with the current Barcelona mayor, Jordi Hereu, he has now declared that such a move would not be appropriate now, because the electorare are looking for change and wouldn't understand if CiU won the elections and didn't take over the city council as a result. However, Trias did say that if he becomes mayor following the vote on May 22nd, there would be the possibility of collaboration with different groups on specific issues, extending thus the concept of 'government of the best' declared by new Generalitat president and leader of CiU, Artur Mas. Trias criticised Hereu for consistently refusing to make ad hoc agreements with CiU during his mandate.