Dixons sticks with recovering Greece

Dixons, the continent’s No 2 electricals retailer, saw sales at its Greek business, Kotsovolos, rise 3 percent in the November 1 - January 4 period, driven by its wholesale business.

However, sales at retail stores that have been open for more than a year fell 8 percent.

“It’s still quite tough in Greece and the market is still under pressure. We are beginning to see some evidence that it is flattening out,” Chief Executive Sebastian James told reporters.

“That business is going to come right.”

As speculation swirled in 2012 that Greece could abandon the euro, Dixons stockpiled security shutters to protect its nearly 100 stores in the country.

Recent data suggests the economy is on the brink of recovering from a six-year recession, boosted by a rebound in tourism and rising investment and exports.

However, Greek consumers’ incomes have shrunk about 40 percent since the crisis began and in Athens the mood remains gloomy.

Many poured into the capital’s main shopping street at the start of the winter sales but few were buying, despite 50 percent discounts.

“People come, look and leave. They have other priorities,” said Katerina Graspa, 53, who is struggling to keep her household goods shop in business.

Dixons, which has been benefiting from strong demand for tablet computers, has sold off units in Turkey and Italy, but plans to stick with Greece as it is the market leader there, although the country accounts for a small part of group sales.