Supermarkets sales have been running out of steam since June, confirming concerns that Greece’s exit from the bailout program would not automatically mean a rise in demand, particularly since there has been no increase to disposable incomes. Even so, the first nine months of the year showed a rise from 2017 and, barring surprises, 2018 should go down as the second consecutive year of growth for supermarket sales.
Market research firm IRI showed that supermarket turnover expanded 1.7 percent in September from a year earlier. However, the increase is mainly attributed to the fact that in mid-2017 the former Marinopoulos network had not fully resumed operation under the Sklavenitis brand, while the annual growth rate appears to be constantly slowing down since the start of the summer.
After the 6.1 percent annual increase seen in May 2018 therefore, the rate came down to 2.8 percent in June, 2.3 percent in July and 2.1 percent in August. Over the first nine months of the year the increase amounted to 3.2 percent from a year earlier, matching IRI’s spring expectations, when it spoke of an annual growth rate of between 3.1 and 4.8 percent for the entire year. In the same period, sales volume posted a slightly greater rise, at 3.4 percent, as the various offers made by supermarket chains mean that the same quantities sold may have cost consumers less money.
Ten out of the 11 supermarket commodity categories showed an increase in sales volume and turnover in the year to end-September, led by frozen foods (up 8 percent in value and 10.2 percent in volume) and snacks (up 6.5 percent and 6.7 percent respectively). The only category to see a decline was cookware and tableware, in turnover (down 4.1 percent) as well as in volume (3.8 percent).