BUSINESS

Supermarket chains sense worst is yet to come

By Dimitra Manifava

Supermarket chains in Greece fear that the worst is yet to come for the sector, expecting the price war to escalate to such an extent in the next few months that some will be forced to shut down completely or be bought out cheaply by their competitors.

“We are at the bottom of the recession and the crisis is starting for us,” said Costas Machairas, executive vice president of Delhaize, the parent group of AB Vassilopoulos supermarket and the group’s director for Southeastern Europe and Indonesia. He told a conference in Athens on Tuesday that the sector is heading for conditions of “cannibalism,” with shutdowns and penetration by foreign giants, while consumers may also see a drop in the quality of products.

“I can see a nasty price war coming with parallel imports, fake adverts and sales without value-added tax,” warned the Vassilopoulos strongman, expressing fears that a number of companies which may be healthy today will find themselves facing serious problems by 2016 due to credit problems in the sector.

“Consumers are thirsty for better prices, which entail a number of risks,” seconded Apostolos Apostolakos, the general director for development at the local Sklavenitis chain.

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