Entrepreneurship against price increases in Miranda de Ebro
The exponential increase in the cost of products and goods is not only affecting large companies, but also businesses and poses a serious threat to companies. Even if it is successful in the end, as was the case with the new business that will open this weekend in the Plaza de Abastos.
After the closure of the only establishment specialising in the sale of cod in Gaitán, located in Calle Ramón y Cajal in Miranda de Ebro, Belén Ruiz, owner of Huevería Nicolás, saw the opportunity to expand her business. “I noticed that there was still interest in this cod and I decided to include it in my offer and take over the stall next door, which was closed”, she says. However, exorbitant price rises for the vast majority of products and other problems seriously threatened the opening: “We hesitated to open because, at the end of the day, when you sell electricity, diesel, food… you have to get it all from somewhere, he says.
The increase is evident “at all levels….. Both the products from big companies such as Danone or Pascual, and the eggs that my brother imports from Sagredo”. Despite everything, the project continues and Belén hopes to be able to serve the public “by Saturday”.
This new opening in the Plaza de Abastos in Miranda will also help the development of the other stalls. “It is very noticeable when new stalls are opened, because those who go to buy at my grocery shop, for example, also pass by other businesses and can buy their products, and that is the aim, that in the end you can buy without leaving the square”. The importance of the new outlets lies not in the occupation of the new stall, but in that “it is less empty”, so the whole market environment“comes alive”: “When you see light, you see movement… people are more motivated to come”, says the trader.
Unlike the vast majority of businesses, the pandemic has benefited the Mercado de Abastos because “a lot of new and younger people have come here”. Fearing the possibility of contracting the disease in the large supermarkets, “they have met us and stayed in the square once they have tasted the quality of the products we sell”, says Belén.
The Plaza de Abastos has a high added value for the city. Belén considers them the “centre” of any city: “When I travel somewhere, I usually visit the local market, I think they are the symbols of cities. They are places where you can find local products that help you get to know the whole area, something that no supermarket can offer you”, she says.
Belén has been at the Miranda Market for 23 years and, despite the passage of time, she has not lost her passion: “I liked it when I was helping my mother and I like it now. Being in front of the public, talking to people, setting sales targets, the trust that the customer shows you… I love it all.” It is this love of work that fuels her desire to improve and offer better and better products, “I try everything they bring me because I want to offer a good product, which you can find in our Plaza de Abastos”, concludes Belén.
Travel will be more expensive, but excellent service will be more appreciated.
Business travel is showing signs of recovery, but flexibility remains a critical factor in the resurgence of travel as companies become increasingly aware of the environmental footprint of their travel. This was confirmed at the TIS (Tourism Innovation Summit) Business Travel Forum, whose participants concluded that “travel will certainly become more expensive in the future,” as Ricardo Crespo, Director of Travel and Conventions at AbbVie, pointed out. Although what companies and frequent travellers value most today is, as Asunción Pérez, Sales Director for Spain at Air France-KLM, pointed out, “excellence in service over price, especially in terms of security and speed of procedures”.
As Ricardo Crespo pointed out, the increase in business travel prices is due to the rise in fuel prices and the reduction in flight frequency. This means “a problem for employees who have fewer options when it comes to organising their trips”. For her part, Asunción Pérez is committed to “being able to improve the airport experience”.
The Executive Director made a strong case for the necessity of professional travel for economic activity and wealth creation. He also made a prediction about the times ahead: “Agencies will stop making bookings. Machines will do it and agents will become real consultants.
But travel policy has a problem, as Irene Manrique, head of tourism at BBVA, acknowledges “because the situation is not stable and it is very difficult to predict”. The director also stressed the importance of listening to travellers in order to meet their needs.
The hotel sector is trying to adapt to these needs and, as Francisca Mérida, director of corporate sales at Meliá Hotels International, says, “in a short time it has advanced a lot from a technological point of view” This evolution translates into more agile, faster and personalised services.
Sustainability is increasingly present
All participants in the session on the future of business tourism, prepared and conducted by MeetIN and Forum Business Travel, agreed that travel programmes are increasingly taking environmental criteria into account as a priority.
According to Rebecca Avila, head of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) at Accor for Southern Europe, “it’s good to offset emissions, but we can also think about how to avoid them. It’s a big change of mentality. It forces us to rethink how we change our supply“.
He added that “the responsibility for a more sustainable planet concerns everyone”. However, he recommended that the focus should not only be on emissions: “We also need to work on equality, diversity, inclusion and economic development for the most disadvantaged groups”.
The role of employees
Employees themselves play a key role in the renewal of business travel. In times of uncertainty, insecurity and confusion, the work of managers to improve their motivation is crucial.
It is not surprising that, according to Nieves Rodríguez, founder of Fastracktorefocus Coaching, an expert in professional motivation and people leadership. 70% of companies fail in their change initiatives, employees are productive only 50% of the time and only 41% of the working day is focused on really important tasks.
Shortages and rising prices at Christmas, warns warnings
The world raw materials crisis and container transport problems, especially from Asia, have affected Ceuta, where shortages are expected during the Christmas campaign and prices are expected to rise considerably in the coming weeks.
Traders, entrepreneurs and transporters contacted warn that it is important to buy in advance, especially toys, electronics and computers.
This situation is generalised throughout the country, but in Ceuta it is even more complicated due to its geographical location, which means that the usual delivery times for products on the mainland are always seven days longer. This could cause problems for local consumers during the Christmas shopping season if delays occur due to longer delivery times in Ceuta.
According to the president of the Confederación de Empresarios de Ceuta, Pepe Dhanwani, although the shortage of products in the city’s shops is not perceived at the moment, it is something to be expected: “The forecasts are alarming, high production costs, energy prices, rising transport costs and increased demand mean that there will be shortages of some products in the city, although not of all, not even radically”.
Dhanwani explains that product shortages will be mainly in toys and electronics: “There will be shortages of some toys, some mobile phones, games consoles… but not all of them, he says.
Employers in Ceuta are generally concerned at the moment because they fear that the delay will come just in time for Christmas and that this will greatly affect the campaign.
“Some businessmen are already organising their shops to stock up on merchandise, others will make up for the shortage of some products with similar ones, but there will definitely be losses and that will hurt, more so now that we should be experiencing a recovery,” says the businessmen’s president.
Also of great concern in the city are the price rises that are expected in the coming weeks due to multiple factors such as increased demand, rising energy prices and increased transport costs. “Prices will go up and, in many cases, when a businessman sees that he has no stock of a product, he will buy it through companies that deliver it by air, which will further increase the cost,” says Dhanwani.
However, the Confederation of Employers of Ceuta insists that local trade must be supported in this new crisis that is looming: “It is important that Ceuta residents buy in their own city, that they do so occasionally, but that they do not go shopping abroad because this can be very damaging for the sector and then we will scratch our heads when we see businesses close down,” he warned.
Shortage of branded alcoholic beverages in the UK market
As for the supply of drinks, Ceutí shopkeepers have warned that shortages will be particularly evident in spirits from the British market, due to the supply problems the country is suffering. However, they are sending out a message of calm in this respect: “We don’t think there will be a shortage of alcoholic beverages to toast this festive season. Local and national suppliers will compensate for shortages with other brands. We may not have all the popular brands of drinks, but there will be plenty to choose from,” says the president of the city’s businessmen.
For his part, the president of the Centro Comercial Abierto de Ceuta, Juan Torres, expressed the concern of traders in the city centre and the old town who sell toys, digital goods, hardware, clothing and footwear. According to Torres, all indications are that there will be a shortage of products in the city, and he advises shoppers to make their purchases in advance, especially if they are looking for toys or want something specific. “This year you shouldn’t leave shopping to the end because you run the risk of not finding the toy you’re looking for, especially if it’s made in Asia or if it’s one of the most popular,” warns Torres.
Despite the poor forecasts, Juan Torres says the situation is not as dramatic as during the pandemic, when there were supplies but no demand. “Now people want to buy, the problem was a few months ago when the shops were full of things and nobody came to buy”, he explains.
Bringing a container from Asia used to cost 3,000 euros, now the price is over 18,000 euros.
Regarding the transport of goods, Luis de la Rubia, director of Marítima del Estrecho de Ceuta, confirmed the bad situation of the sector when it comes to transporting products from Asia, although he does not believe that the problem affects basic necessities such as food. “We should not worry because there will be a lack of food or basic necessities, what we will see is a shortage of goods coming from Asia, but in Ceuta, in the whole peninsula and in the rest of Europe; it is not just a local problem,” he explains.
De la Rubia points out that in recent months there has been a 2,000% increase in the price of containers in which goods are shipped from Asia: “Before a container cost around 3,000 euros per shipment, now the same container costs an exorbitant 18,000 euros. This means that for many toy suppliers, for example, it is not profitable to deliver products, others are delayed and only large companies can continue to operate normally and bear the costs,” says the director.
“At the local level, the same will happen as in the rest of Spain. If there is a lack of toys in Huelva, there will be a lack of toys in Ceuta. What I think we are going to see and register is a significant increase in prices,” warns De la Rubia. He adds that this situation is not going to be resolved in the short term, and warns of a negative evolution in this regard in the coming months, even talking about supply problems in the first half of 2022.
“The shortage of products and rising prices will not be solved in the short term, and all indications are that it will get worse, so I understand that the authorities will have to take action,” he concludes.