ECONOMY

Most discount stores holding up despite slower sales

Discount stores are discovering they are not immune to the slump in consumer spending, though the drop they have observed in sales has been slower than in other sectors, according to recent data.

Indicative of the decline in spending is the recent closure of the Mega Outlet in Larissa, central Greece, which offered a broad range of fashion products at heavily discounted prices. According to the owners, Fashion Distribution, the investment was not paying off as expected and therefore had to be shut down, even though the company bought the store just a year-and-a-half ago from Ridenco.

Fashion Distribution has now focused all of its efforts on propping up its other Mega Outlet in Thessaloniki, which appears to be doing quite well, all things considered, as it saw 1.1 million visitors in 2011, though turnover did drop 10 percent in comparison to 2010.

The two Empoli discount stores operated by Lapin in Attica also saw a small single-digit drop in turnover, though there is concern that the next two years could be tough despite the fact that the company has focused its strategy on introducing new brands to the discount outlets.

For the commercial manager of the two Factory Outlet stores in Athens, the challenge for discount stores is keeping up an abundance in merchandise despite dropping sales. Factory Outlet also saw a 10 percent decline in sales in 2011 compared to 2010, though the number of visitors remains satisfactory, while the company has also expanded its collaboration with Greek brands.

McArthurGlen country manager Yiannis Kassimatis told Kathimerini that he is pleased with the performance of the Designer Outlet shopping complex near Athens International Airport in Spata, which was inaugurated in June. According to the figures, the number of visitors in its first six months of operation exceeded expectations by 25 percent, while 86 percent of the spaces have already been rented out. Sales are also up by 10 percent more than initially projected, and turnover is forecast to reach 100 million euros in its first year of operation.