Three weeks into the summer sales, traders say that purchases are not satisfactory. Shopping levels appear to be lower than during the same period last year, or on the same level at best, even at popular holiday destinations, with Crete suffering the biggest losses.
This sluggishness has been linked to the reduction of Russian tourists this year, for whom Crete constitutes a preferred destination.
The operation of all retail stores on Sunday, July 20 – the first Sunday of the summer sales period – appears to have favored the country’s most popular commercial strips, while on the other two Sundays, July 13 and 27, high temperatures coupled with street protests by shop workers seem to have put off consumers from going shopping in Athens city center, according to a telephone survey conducted by the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE).
On total turnover from this summer sales period, half of the responding traders (51 percent) said it was on a par with last summer’s, 44 percent said there has been a decline and only 5 percent have witnessed an increase.
Sales turnover declined by between 10 and 20 percent in Patra, Piraeus and Larissa, by 20 percent at Hania, by 30 percent in the other major cities on Crete i.e. Iraklio and Rethymno, while Rhodes and Corfu saw virtually no change from the turnover recorded in July 2013.
The disappointing sales this summer comes on top of a bad month of May in retail commerce turnover. Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) data showed yesterday that the turnover index dropped that month by 8.5 percent from May 2013, while compared to April 2014 there was a 7.2 percent reduction. Sales volume fell in May to 3.8 percent from May 2013 and by 5.1 percent from last April. Still, Greek Orthodox Easter last year was in May, while this year it was in April.
There was also a 7.3 percent decline in supermarket turnover in May on a yearly basis, suggesting that consumers are still cutting down even on their basic needs.