This year the average Christmas dinner will cost Greeks 2.51 percent less than last year, according to a survey by the Commerce and Services Institute of the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (ESEE).
Conducted between December 13 and 18, the survey found that the Christmas spread will set households back 147.75 euros on average, compared with 151.56 euros a year earlier and 158.93 euros in 2011.
That small reduction of 3.81 euros from December 2012 reflects the stability in meat prices, after a price sample from the central meat market of Athens found that Greek lamb has remained unchanged at 7 euros per kilogram. However, there has been a rise in the prices of both pork (up 5.41 percent) and of turkey (11.11 percent). Christmas sweets, on the other hand, such as melomakarona and kourambiedes, have dropped 11 percent from last year on average.
Fruit and vegetables presented a mixed picture, with the price of cabbage sliding 29 percent from last year, and potatoes and tomatoes falling 6 and 3 percent respectively, while apples have gone up by 24.55 percent and lettuce has climbed 15.8 percent. The price of feta cheese has declined by 13.93 percent.
ESEE argues that turnover over the festive season has declined by nearly 70 percent since the start of the recession. In 2008 turnover during the Christmas period amounted to 21.9 billion euros, and this year it is expected to drop to just 6.8 billion euros, posting a fresh decline of more than 10 percent from 2012.
“The reduced consumer spending once again reflected the long-term decline in turnover this Christmas period, as the loss in sales at commercial stores is expected to amount to 10.5 percent from the same period last year. In absolute figures, retail stores’ turnover this December is estimated at 6.8 billion euros, down 0.8 billion from 2012,” stated ESEE. Last year turnover during the festive period amounted to 7.6 billion euros.
The Christmas and New Year’s turnover forms a key part of the annual sales volume in retail commerce and for many enterprises it is their chance for a last-minute reprieve. A further decline in festive sales would entail a new wave of store closures immediately after the holidays, as has been the case in recent years.