Madrid's Gran Vía has become the paradigm of modern commerce. The small stores of all the life have been swept by the great chains and it is almost impossible to find some establishment of those of before. Each year, thousands of these small stores close. Last year, 6,698 did it throughout Spain, according to the data of the directory of companies (Dirce) of the National Institute of Statistics (Dirce). Of 458,169 retail companies with less than twenty workers or self-employed that had in 2017 it went to 451,471. In 2015, its number exceeded 469,000. The situation is even more dramatic among businesses without employees. Last year 10,000 were lost, according to data from the Spanish Confederation of Commerce (CEC). The Index of Retail Trade of the INE of 2018 reflects that the small and medium establishments were the only ones that presented negative growth rates, -0.7%.
The rise of electronic commerce and the "fever of permanent discounts", as defined by the CEC, are fleecing forced marches to traditional tradel. In both cases, the big chains have had a lot to say. Supported by its financial muscle, the large distribution chains have taken advantage of the liberalization of the sales period to make permanent discounts an important part of their business plan. A strategy against which small businesses can not compete. Although they are dragged to adhere to the trend, they do so at the cost of a sharp reduction in their margins, which is leading many to their demise. Sectors such as textiles are exponents of a spiral that the employer, Acotex, has been denouncing for years. Even some of the big chains, like Inditex, doubt the appropriateness of the model. The Galician multinational, in fact, has decided to distance itself from this trend in recent months although this has meant lower growth and some punishment from investors. Small business complaints have already reached the table of Reyes Maroto, Minister of Industry and Commerce, who has promised to set up a round table to analyze the consequences of the liberalization of rebates although, for the time being, she has not taken sides for any position, ensure from the CEC.
Online commerce is another harsh reality with which small businesses must coexist in clear inequality of conditions. Keeping the service open 24 hours is neither logically nor economically viable for small businesses. Because it is not, it is not even for the big chains. With the exception of Inditex, which ensures that its sales through the Internet do not suffer from shrinkage in its margins, the rest recognizes in one way or another that it is a channel in which it is necessary to be, although now it costs to make it profitable because it is the future. And increasingly the present. According to data from the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNCM), in the first quarter of 2018 e-commerce exceeded 8,900 million euros, 32.8% more than in the same period of the previous year.