After many months of hopeless data, sales this July have boosted their growth up to 4.7% year-on-year, according to the Retail Trade Index (ICM) published by the INE today. However, and following the tonic already usual in recent months, the small and medium-sized trade has experienced the least growth, 2.9% (very close to the 3% forecast of the Spanish Confederation of Commerce) against to much higher increases in small chains (4.8%), large chains (7%) and large areas (5%).

In spite of the good data of the past month, from the CEC we continue insisting on the precarious situation of the commerce of proximity, formed in 95% by autonomous, who are forced to narrow their margins throughout the year in front of the hard competition of the ecommerce and sales continued. In fact, more and more of these freelancers are forced to close their business, a decline that is accentuated year after year. Thus, if we look only at retail (and taking as a reference the affiliations to January of each year), in just five years there has been a loss of 31,680 autonomous merchants, in an upward progression that has only slowed slightly in the last year: in 2016 the number of freelancers of commerce decreased by -2,698 people compared to January 2015; -6,804 in 2017; -11,926 in 2018; and finally, in January 2019 there was a year-on-year decrease of -10,252 autonomous merchants.

Retail has always been a fundamental pillar of employment in Spain, with two million affiliates in Spain between the general regime and the self-employed, of which more than half are women. Therefore, and according to the president of the Spanish Confederation of Commerce, Pedro Campo, it is even less understood the 'inaction' of the Administrations: “The consequences of the liberalization of the periods of sales, ecommerce, changes in habits of Consumers and unfair competition are palpable. The loss of market share is increasingly evident, and employment in commerce has been recording "historical" losses for several years. How many historical negative data on the sector have to be produced for measures to be taken?

Measures that, according to the president of the CEC, must go fundamentally in the line of the promotion of the competitiveness and the digitalization of the small and medium commerce, at present in disadvantage with respect to other commercial formats.

For this reason, the CEC insists on the need for the formation of a new Government as soon as possible, in line with what has been pointed out by the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, this week. Among the most urgent measures, we consider it essential that the debate on the regulation of rebates be reopened, and that the instruments that have been put in place to advance in the digitalization of the sector and fight against intrusion translate into concrete solutions and support to Our merchants



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