Shoppers eye but do not buy

Athens retailers saw turnover rates slump some 20 percent on Sunday compared to the Sunday before Christmas last year, according to the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (ESEE).

Huge numbers of people took to central Athens, as well as Thessaloniki and Piraeus, but it was mainly to enjoy the festive spirit and not to make purchases, ESEE commented.

Patra witnessed a 25 percent drop in turnover from last year, while in Ioannina it fell by 30 percent and Alexandroupoli retailers cashed in just half of what they made in 2011.

ESEE is now changing course on the Sunday opening issue, saying that the historic center of Athens, within the triangle formed by Syntagma, Omonia and Monastiraki squares, should obtain tourist area status. That would allow all shops to open every Sunday and without any surface restrictions.

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