ECONOMY

Sales turnover drops 40 pct within two years

The state of retail trade in Greece is continuing to deteriorate with no sign of any letup, as indicated by the current summer sales, which have seen a contraction in volume totaling more than a third within just two years.

Retail turnover in the sales period that started in mid-July and ends this Friday is not expected to top 4 billion euros this year, comapred to 5 billion euros in the same period last year and 65 billion in the summer sales of 2010, according to the head of the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce, Vassilis Korkidis. Speaking on Skai TV on Monday, Korkidis said that this would lead to a new round of enterprise closures.

A recent survey by the General Confederation of Greek Small Businesses and Traders (GSEVEE) suggested that in the next couple of months some 11,000 small and medium-sized trade and manufacturing enterprises would shut down.

Despite the fact that many Athenians curtailed their vacations to just a few days this summer, the money saved clearly did not go toward retail spending, as turnover is estimated to have fallen by no less than 35 percent year-on-year in the capital. In other cities the drop in turnover is seen at around 30 percent, although there are cases, such as Larissa in central Greece, where the decline is estimated at as much as 50 percent.

The biggest losses have been observed in the furniture and apparel sector, while electrical and electonics retailers say they have seen a small rise, thanks to the analog TV signal switch-off in Athens that brought about a wave of digital decoder and TV set sales.

Traders do not expect a reversal in their fortunes over this last week of sales, although price discounts reach up to 80 percent in some instances. Major special offer campaigns are set to follow the end of the summer sales too.