Only one in four shops around Greece and one in three stores in Attica opened on Sunday as part of a new initiative aimed at boosting Greece’s flagging retail sector.
National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) said, however, that the first Sunday of optional opening for stores “did not live up to expectations” in most parts of Greece.
Store owners in central Athens and Thessaloniki were more pleased with the trade they saw. ESEE said that this was partly down to the warm weather. The Athens Traders’ Association (ESA) said that it felt “particularly positive” with the response from shoppers.
The Piraeus Traders’ Association (ESP) warned that it was too early for Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis, who agreed the measure with the retail sector, to be celebrating a “success story.” ESP said Sunday opening made no difference to the weekly turnover of stores in Piraeus.
The Sunday holiday was first established in Greece in 1908 and since then stores have only opened on Sundays during holiday periods.
The government and traders have now agreed for shops to be free to open on seven Sundays each year. This Sunday’s opening also coincided with a new autumn mini-sales season.
ESEE said that the new sales period was likely to prove more attractive to shoppers than Sunday opening. “Sales on Sunday were limited and lower than the first two days of the mid-season sales,” said the confederation, adding that chain stores and malls attracted most visitors.
ESEE added that major super markets kept their shops shut on Sundays and that those which did open “did not cover their costs.”