The advent of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is having a seriously negative effect on retail turnover this Christmas that is expected to come to 25-30% below that of 2019.
What the market fears most, besides any losses over the festive period, is the imposition of new restrictions or even a lockdown after the holidays, even if the government has ruled out a return to a complete shutdown. They have already experienced a decline as a result of the measure forcing shopkeepers to allow only those with a Covid certificate or a recent negative test into their stores.
Traders discern two patterns this season: Consumers are making fewer visits to stores, but they are making larger purchases, especially from retail chains; and smaller enterprises report growing purchases of cheaper products than in the past.
The impact of price hikes will also become obvious on the Christmas dinner table: The annual survey by the Institute of Commerce and Services (INEMY) of the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE) showed on Wednesday that the average cost of a holiday spread for six to eight people will this year average at between 82.56 and 113.90 euros, up by 9.3-18.5% from last year.