Stores see winter sales as last chance to offset Christmas losses

Many small and medium-sized enterprises are banking on the winter sales that start from January 15 and end on February 28, as in recent years many stores have been forced to shut down permanently after selling out of stock at the end of the sales period.

This year in particular the commercial sector is hoping the upcoming sales period will offset some of the losses registered in the festive season, when turnover was even lower then anticipated.

Sales are expected to start with a 50 percent discount rate in clothing merchandise, 30 percent in shoes and technology items, while homeware goods will also see big cuts in prices. Toward the end of the sales period discount rates will reach up to 80 percent, as has been observed in recent years.

Many shops, including chainstores, had already started making special offers on some or most of their merchandise a few days before Christmas – a practice that was unheard of in the Greek market before the economic crisis: A well-known US chain that retails casual clothing had four days of offers at a 30 percent discount on all its products, a British chain had a similar four-day offers period with 20 percent discounts on all its men’s and children’s clothes, while another had 60 percent off selected clothes for men and women. These offers are usually made in combination with loyalty cards or discount vouchers that can be used in future purchases.

This sales window from January 15 will more than likely be the last under the current system, as the Development Ministry is promoting changes that will see winter sales last from the second Monday of January until end-February. Summer sales are seen taking place from the second Monday of July until end-August, and there will also be two more sales windows in November and May, lasting 10 days each. Discounts will not be allowed up to 30 days before sales periods. A ministerial decision will determine the period of time when seasonal goods will be sold at a discount.