ECONOMY

Competition watchdog keeps eye on kiosks in Crete

The Competition Commission is keeping an eye on kiosks in Crete for signs of price fixing after the retailers decided to up the retail cost of cigarettes, possibly triggering more price hikes on everyday goods.

Kiosk owners on Greece?s largest island have decided to ignore recommended retail prices marked on cigarettes and up prices by 0.10 euros per packet on the grounds that their profit margin has diminished due to repeated tax hikes. A packet of cigarettes normally costs between 3.80 euros to 4 euros.

?The commission monitors developments in the market and intervenes when necessary,? a source from the competitions watchdog told Kathimerini English Edition on Wednesday.

Repeated tax hikes on tobacco products delivered as part of austerity measures promised in exchange for a 110-billion-euro EU-IMF loan last year has reduced kiosk?s profit margins to 3.6 percent, from 7.5 percent a year ago, argue the retailers.

Higher prices have also had a negative impact on the amount of cigarettes sold, which make up 70 to 80 percent of kiosk revenues, they add.

Kiosk owners in Thessaloniki have also decided to increase the price of cigarettes, local press reported on Wednesday.