A study has revealed that for the first time there are more people behind the idea of businesses opening on Sundays than those against (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). According to Jordi William Carnes, the Deputy Mayor for Finance and Economic Development, "The survey reveals that more and more locals, mainly among the young, are in favor of shops opening on Sundays," In addition the survey confirms that the residents of the city prefer local shops for supplies and buying their fresh produce from the local markets. Carnes puts the shift down to the current economic crisis.
The frutería industry in Catalunya is in the process of expanding and chains of shops have doubled their number of outlets in the last five years (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). On top of this many immigrants of various nationalities have gone into the business as it is seen as a profitable job which requires little initial investment. Although the Ayuntamiento doesn't have exact figures on the sector, statistics taken from the Mercadona chain reveal that in the past decade, the volume in tonnes of fruit sold has increased by 51 percent from 397,000 tonnes in 1999 to almost 600,000 in 2009. With vegetables it is a similar story with a volume growth of 40 percent. Frescuore, Superverd, Fruit Sa2pe, Punt Fresc, are just some of the franchise stores that have undergone a dramatic increase in numbers. Many putting the increase down to a consumer that is becoming increasingly concerned with health and the pursuit of a healthy diet. Market hours are often not adapted to the needs of clients and those seeking stores close to their homes.
The last weekend of the Feria de Abril, which closed yesterday, was hit with a surge of last minute spending that saved poor sales (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The Feria de Abril was last night saved from very poor sales and poor attendance with a surge in spending and visitors over the weekend. Many traders had decided not to return to the annual fair next year due to the poor attendance and sales but thanks to the crowds of people who went at the weekend, an occurrence that traders attributed to the payment of wages, many of them were reconsidering their options for 2011. Traders however put their losses down to between 30 to 50 percent. Luis Alberto Navarro, a stall holder there said that, "I think this show is a lot of work for what is earned and rents are unfair." Many of them believing that the Feria de Abril de Catalunya has been particularly affected. Francisco Ruiz, a stall holder who sold Cantabrian seafood and cheese said, "Almost all the fairs in Madrid are working much better than this. Here we pay for 10 days but we just had four good ones, on the weekends."
Also in the news: 23 areas of Spain are on a yellow weather alert with risks of heavy rains and snow (read article in full, in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Drivers of the RENFE trains have launched the first day of a 24-hour strike of a three-day strike (read article in full, in Castilian, here, La Vanguardia). Only 63 percent of the businesses on the Diagonal are wheel-chair accessible (read article in full, in Castilian, here, El Periodico)