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Shutting up shop in Madrid

Lease hikes, fewer customers and the end of controlled rents are among the reasons why hundreds of the capital’s small businesses are closing every year

  • Between 2008 and 2013, 6,526 commercial establishments closed in the Madrid region, according to the Business Directory published by the National Statistics Institute (INE). In late 2013 there were 69,082 stores in the city, a 8.6-percent decline from 2008, the year the crisis officially began. Shown here, a closing down sign on a storefront window on General Ricardos street.
    1Between 2008 and 2013, 6,526 commercial establishments closed in the Madrid region, according to the Business Directory published by the National Statistics Institute (INE). In late 2013 there were 69,082 stores in the city, a 8.6-percent decline from 2008, the year the crisis officially began. Shown here, a closing down sign on a storefront window on General Ricardos street.
  • A woman walks past a closed store on Pez street, in the heart of the Malasaña neighborhood. In the last five years, an estimated 9,700 businesses have shut down in the capital alone – a rate of 160 a month. These stores had been employing around 25,000 people.
    2A woman walks past a closed store on Pez street, in the heart of the Malasaña neighborhood. In the last five years, an estimated 9,700 businesses have shut down in the capital alone – a rate of 160 a month. These stores had been employing around 25,000 people.
  • One of the reasons behind the decline of small neighborhood stores is the end of rent controls, which protected the tenant’s financial conditions on leases signed before May 9, 1985. Pictured, a display window at a store on Minas street, also in Malasaña.
    3One of the reasons behind the decline of small neighborhood stores is the end of rent controls, which protected the tenant’s financial conditions on leases signed before May 9, 1985. Pictured, a display window at a store on Minas street, also in Malasaña.
  • The city center is losing small businesses fast, but the biggest impact is being felt on the outskirts. Avenida General Ricardos, in the Carabanchel district, offers the most striking example: traditional establishments have gradually shut down to be replaced by supermarket chains, Chinese-run discount stores and bank branches. Many other premises remain empty. Pictured, a closed drugstore on the avenue.
    4The city center is losing small businesses fast, but the biggest impact is being felt on the outskirts. Avenida General Ricardos, in the Carabanchel district, offers the most striking example: traditional establishments have gradually shut down to be replaced by supermarket chains, Chinese-run discount stores and bank branches. Many other premises remain empty. Pictured, a closed drugstore on the avenue.
  • According to Eduardo Morán, president of the Federation of Madrid Retail Business Entrepreneurs, the sector hardest hit by the changes has been furniture and home accessories, followed by lingerie shops, shoe stores, hardware stores, drugstores and home appliance stores. Pictured, a shuttered shop on Madera street, in Malasaña.
    5According to Eduardo Morán, president of the Federation of Madrid Retail Business Entrepreneurs, the sector hardest hit by the changes has been furniture and home accessories, followed by lingerie shops, shoe stores, hardware stores, drugstores and home appliance stores. Pictured, a shuttered shop on Madera street, in Malasaña.
  • Nearly 35,800 business premises in Madrid have been affected by the end of rent controls as set out in the City Rental Law of 1994, according to estimates by the Union of Professionals and Self-Employed Workers. Pictured, a bricked-up storefront on General Ricardos street.
    6Nearly 35,800 business premises in Madrid have been affected by the end of rent controls as set out in the City Rental Law of 1994, according to estimates by the Union of Professionals and Self-Employed Workers. Pictured, a bricked-up storefront on General Ricardos street.
  • An old store that used to sell cleaning products on Madera street, in Malasaña. The graffiti on the left is part of a series titled ‘Mass graves: against the impunity of Franco-era crimes.’
    7An old store that used to sell cleaning products on Madera street, in Malasaña. The graffiti on the left is part of a series titled ‘Mass graves: against the impunity of Franco-era crimes.’
  • The display window of a traditional shoe store on Pez street, across from the Alfil theater. The shop had been holding a going-out-of-business sale for months, during which time its shelves had been slowly emptying out.
    8The display window of a traditional shoe store on Pez street, across from the Alfil theater. The shop had been holding a going-out-of-business sale for months, during which time its shelves had been slowly emptying out.
  • “We are losing the personality of our cities. Soon it will be all the same whether you’re in Paris, Berlin or Madrid. They’ll all be the same. Their centers will be full of large brand-name stores selling food and clothing,” laments Gerardo Pérez, one of the four founders of Café Central, a mecca for Madrid jazz lovers now under threat after the end of rent controls. Pictured, a closed bar on Castelló street, in the Salamanca neighborhood.
    9“We are losing the personality of our cities. Soon it will be all the same whether you’re in Paris, Berlin or Madrid. They’ll all be the same. Their centers will be full of large brand-name stores selling food and clothing,” laments Gerardo Pérez, one of the four founders of Café Central, a mecca for Madrid jazz lovers now under threat after the end of rent controls. Pictured, a closed bar on Castelló street, in the Salamanca neighborhood.
  • Small mom-and-pop stores have also suffered from the liberalization of opening hours introduced by the Popular Party in 2012. These establishments are calling for a return to the old model that only allowed businesses to open on 22 Sundays and public holidays a year. Pictured, another closed shop on Pez street.
    10Small mom-and-pop stores have also suffered from the liberalization of opening hours introduced by the Popular Party in 2012. These establishments are calling for a return to the old model that only allowed businesses to open on 22 Sundays and public holidays a year. Pictured, another closed shop on Pez street.
  • Retail trade represents 11.8 percent of Madrid’s economy. The crisis has seen retail stores’ sales volume decrease – from €13.8 million in 2008 to €13.07 million in 2010. Pictured, a closed fabric store on Corredera Baja de San Pablo, also in Malasaña.
    11Retail trade represents 11.8 percent of Madrid’s economy. The crisis has seen retail stores’ sales volume decrease – from €13.8 million in 2008 to €13.07 million in 2010. Pictured, a closed fabric store on Corredera Baja de San Pablo, also in Malasaña.
  • The end of rent controls has seen many establishments’ leases double or even triple – even jumping from €200 to €9,000 a month, or from €1,500 to €30,000 a month, which is what landlords are asking on upmarket Serrano street. Pictured, a fishmonger’s on Recoletos, with the blinds covered in graffiti.
    12The end of rent controls has seen many establishments’ leases double or even triple – even jumping from €200 to €9,000 a month, or from €1,500 to €30,000 a month, which is what landlords are asking on upmarket Serrano street. Pictured, a fishmonger’s on Recoletos, with the blinds covered in graffiti.