Retail turnover expected to slump lower this Christmas

Local stores are expecting their turnover this holiday season to shrink to around a third of that seen in the same period of 2008, according to estimates published on Wednesday by the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (ESEE).

Sales this Christmas will only amount to an estimated 7.6 billion euros, ESEE said, against 21.9 billion euros four years ago, which constitutes a decline of 65.9 percent. Compared with last Christmas, turnover is expected to drop by a considerable 18 percent, meaning that the market will see some 1.6 billion euros less this year, which is also the last time that civil servants and most pensioners will receive a Christmas bonus, which in any case has been curtailed since 2010.

This negative picture for the holiday retail market is an indispensable piece of the disappointing jigsaw that illustrates the woes enterprises are facing in terms of turnover: Within just one year they have seen sales shrink by about 10 billion euros, while their turnover will probably not exceed 50 billion euros in 2012, compared with 60.51 billion last year – the fourth of the recession.

The government’s decision to allow stores to open on the two Sundays before and after Christmas (December 23 and 30) is not expected to make much of a difference to turnover.

Following the publication of the decision in the Government Gazette, the Piraeus Traders Association announced yesterday that it is proposing its members stay open on Sunday, December 30, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

However, the association’s statement added that “for the local commercial industry, the framework of market operations remains non-negotiable,” arguing that “the reasons cited, regarding a boost to the market and making it easier for consumers, are simply not acceptable.”

It adds that its proposal for shops to open on December 30, as well as on the last Sunday before Christmas, as is customary every year, is dictated by the existing and constant fair competition in the market, as well as in order to make their services available for consumers’ last-minute shopping needs.

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