Traders on Ermou Street in central Athens are paying a heavy price, not only for the damage sustained by their stores a few days ago following a demonstration, but also for a hefty drop in turnover.
The July 17 riots, as well as the fear of opening for business on Sundays even though the law allows it (due to threats from unionists), have led to a year-on-year slide in sales in excess of 10 percent this month for the majority of retailers. At the same time, it is estimated that just 13.8 percent of stores in the area will receive compensation from insurance companies.
A survey by the Athens Traders Association has found that 44.2 percent of businesspeople expect the above events to have a negative impact on turnover in July amounting to more than 10 percent. Another 11.6 percent foresee a negative impact of 5-10 percent, 14 percent believe turnover will dip 1-5 percent and 16.3 percent expect no impact at all. One in seven respondents said they did not know.
The survey also revealed that a considerable share of traders had no insurance cover – amounting to 16.3 percent according to their answers – while another 11.6 percent refused to respond to the question and 72.1 percent of owners said their stores were insured. Of those insured 45.9 percent said they did not know whether they would receive compensation, 29.7 percent said they were not entitled to it and 10.8 percent did not respond to the question. While the latter responses may sound confusing, they are explained by the fact that for the majority of entrepreneurs the minimum amount of damage covered by their insurance policies is very high, or in some cases the compensation payable would only cover a small part of the damage.
Many shopkeepers also deem it pointless to pay the high premiums that insurers demand for the coverage of such risks – nowadays insurance companies will only insure Ermou stores that take their own security measures. It is only traders who have maintained old policies and not suffered any damage in the past who are likely to receive compensation for most of the damage their stores sustained.