Promoting retail diversity and local commerce
Given the centrality and intensity of visits that Ciutat Vella receives, retail and commerce has experienced a specialization in tourism segments which has led to a loss of diversity in business activity. Commerce in the District should be able to find a balance between tourism’s demand and the needs of those men and women who live and work there, as well as finding solutions for Barcelona’s residents that still see the centre of the city as a reference shopping point. Commercial development that is designed to serve people is one that can meet these needs as far as possible.
In this regard, support for local retail is essential. This plan understands local commerce as a type of premises or shop (not a chain or franchise) dedicated to catering to the various needs of the population. These are traditional shops, and also entrepreneurs’ new premises or SMEs that offer goods and services required by the neighbourhood and/or other people of Barcelona. In a district with many retail chains and franchises supplying goods and services for tourism, promoting such shops helps to preserve the traditional business model. It is a valuable model because it promotes uniqueness, rather than homogenisation, and personalised service, and because it brings huge social value contributing to social structure and the cohesion of neighbourhoods. Thus, this Plan also aims to support, preserve and promote this type of commerce, valuing the shopkeeper’s profession.
This plan considers the promotion of diversified retail and support for local commerce, therefore, not only as a main focus of economic development, but also as a key strategy that can help to stop residents leaving Ciutat Vella to live in other areas of the city.
The actions contemplated by the Plan to promote local commerce will be developed in coordination with the Department of Commerce and the Institute of Municipal Markets.