Stores have been asked to observe another 10-day sales period this month, starting on Saturday, as the previous window was eaten into by the Easter holidays and strikes.
The Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE) called on store owners to follow up the May 1 to 10 sales period with another, from May 14 to 24, but without including any Sundays. This proposal was deemed necessary as stores recorded very poor sales from May 1 to 10, amounting to some 16 percent below the same period last year on average.
This sales window is now possible thanks to the regulation stemming from the third bailout agreement that allows for sales to take place at any time retailers wish, without a specific period having to be determined centrally by the state.
The Easter holidays on May 1 and 2, the May Day holiday that was moved to May 3 and the closure of many stores on Sunday, May 8 – either due to industrial action against the social security and tax reform or fear of riots in central Athens – led to disappointing takings for the majority of traders over this midseason sales period.
An ESEE survey across 74 local tradesmen’s associations around Greece showed that 67 reported a reduction in sales in the May sales window, which in some cases exceeded 40 percent year-on-year, while just seven said purchases were at the same level as last year. Not one of them reported a rise in sales.
A similar picture was painted by department stores and commercial chains: On Sunday May 8, in particular, they reported a decline around 10-12 percent from last year’s equivalent, with the decline attributed mainly to the fact that enterprises chose to remain shut in the center of Athens and in other major cities last Sunday.
ESEE data further showed that 75 percent of stores took part in the midseason sales.