ECONOMY

Shoppers still reluctant to hit the high street

shoppers-still-reluctant-to-hit-the-high-street

Retail commerce may have reopened in time for Easter but it could hardly be described as resurrected, as turnover at Greek stores remains low.

The restrictions that are still in force, which make shopping a mechanical process, and the reservations many consumers still have (especially those not yet inoculated) about being indoors with strangers appear to be the main reasons for the low turnover. Another factor is the economic uncertainty for many households.

A survey by the GLAMI online fashion store search engine showed that 51% of consumers in Greece are waiting for a significant decrease in daily Covid-19 cases before returning to brick-and-mortar stores.

Market professionals note that the biggest decline in turnover compared to the same period two years ago has been recorded in department stores and indoor shopping centers, amounting to 60-70%. Commercial activity in the center of Athens has failed to meet expectations, while periphery markets in Attica such as those in Nea Ionia, Halandri and Kallithea have performed better. Outdoor malls and shopping villages have also shown a better picture.

This difference is attributed to customers’ reluctance to enter busy indoor facilities or to use public transport to go shopping in the city center. This is why they are opting for more accessible markets, where smaller enterprises are active as well as most of the larger chains, as consumers are able to get there on foot or by car with a better chance of finding a parking space.

As of Saturday, large stores will be able to serve more customers at the same time: Until Friday stores were allowed one customer per 25 sq.m. in stores up to 500 sq.m., while shops of more than 500 sq.m. were allowed one customer per extra 100 sq.m. – the latter has been adjusted to one customer per extra 50 sq.m., which will boost the number of customers allowed in a 1,000 sq.m. store from 25 to 30.

With the spring sales already under way, the requirement to make an appointment to shop (click-in-store) or for collection only (click-and-collect) will continue until at least May 15, when tourism opens up, according to government announcements. The same applies to the requirement for a text message to 13032 to go shopping for a maximum of three hours.