Spain's leading department store, El Corte Inglés, is keeping its profit levels steady despite the current economic crisis (read article in Catalan here, El Punt-Avui). "Although the difficulties in the market are continuing, we know how to respond to them," according to the president Isidoro Álvarez, speaking yesterday at the annual general meeting of shareholders in Madrid. However, he also commented that the period had been marked by the negative economy, highlighting that there had been "stagnation" in consumption by families and problems with wholesalers, trends that Álvarez forecasts will continue this year. Despite all the economic problems, the distribution group of the company finished its financial year (which ended on February 28th) with a net profit of €319.4 million (a fall of 13.5 percent compared to last year due to a market war on commercial margins), and a turnover of more than €16,413 million, which represents a rise of 0.3 percent. The development of the profit levels, according to the president, has been conditioned by the general economic situation and its impact on the sector of distribution, which has been seriously affected by the decrease in interior consumption in Spain, although El Corte Inglés continues to be Europe's largest department store and the third largest in the world after the US stores Sears and Macy's.
Police officers and tourist guides in Barcelona have created for themselves a 'map' about the city's hot spots for pickpockets (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). A tourist guide was the original author of the study, which features a list of the main groups of pickpockets and thieves in Barcelona that was put together last year and circulated via online social networks, and which has become a help manual both for the Mossos d'Esquadra and those leading groups of tourists in the city. Indeed, it has been circulated so widely amongst the former, that many agents believe that it was written by another member of the Mossos. Named Manguilàndia (mangui is slang in Castilian that means thief in English), it has now appeared on tourist blogs and on Facebook groups such as I know someone who got robbed in Barcelona. The start of the text sets out the objective of the author: "Dear colleagues, it's a sad reality that Barcelona is a city full of manguis... I would like it to be that we can all locate them and know their techniques so that we can improve our daily lives." The text goes on to describe, often using racist and pejorative language, each band, their location and methods. El Periodico has confirmed the existence of the groups that are mentioned in the document, while the Mossos didn't want to comment on its content, although they confirmed that agents have official maps showing locations of criminals. Despite the politically incorrect language and disrespective nature of much of the text, the newspaper has reproduced word for word some of its sections (see link above).
The president of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) in the Catalan parliament, Joaquim Nadal, has announced that the candidature of Spanish defence minister Carme Chacón as head of the party's Barcelona list for the upcoming Spanish general elections will be confirmed shortly (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). "Carme Chacón is certain that she wants to be at the top of the list for Barcelona, and the majority of the party are certain that it is a good thing for Chacón to be at the top of the list for Barcelona," said Nadal. [In Spanish and Catalan elections, parties publish a list of their candidates for each electoral area and voters select the list for their chosen party when placing their vote.] "If there is more than one candidate [for the role], there will be primaries, but if not, there will be no need," Nadal added. Questioned about his own future in the PSC, Nadal insisted that he will not be standing for the position of first secretary to take over from José Montilla, the former Catalan president.