Cash shortages and, to a great extent, the absence of positive sentiment have taken their toll on Greek retail commerce since the start of the year, with the picture in the market – even though this is a sales period – strongly reminiscent of the days of 2012 and early 2013.
“This year is evolving into a worse one than 2016,” Nikos Kougioumtzis, the head of the Athens Traders’ Association, said, adding, “The course of turnover in the winter sales period has not been good, in the lack of money and positive psychology.” He went on to say that last week was worse due to the deadlines for tax payments at the end of January and the re-emergence of talk of a return to the drachma.
“January was definitely a declining month, even though we do not have the full figures yet,” a senior official at a leading department store told Kathimerini. He added that “we definitely cannot yet deduce any conclusions about the rest of the year, but the picture today is making everyone worry.”
“Sales increase on the days that pensions are paid out, and by the end of the month the money for milk and bread has run out,” Aristotelis Panteliadis, chief executive at Metro AEVE (which controls the MyMarket and Metro Cash & Carry chains), said. He added that he was hoping the economy recovers this year, but noted this January was definitely worse than January 2016.