Retailers report drop of 6-10 pct at Christmas

Reduced disposable incomes and political turmoil have this year resulted in a further reduction to retail stores’ Christmas turnover, despite shops being open an additional Sunday compared with December 2013.

Traders’ estimates put the turnover contraction at between 6 and 8 percent from a year earlier in the main cities and 10 percent in smaller cities and towns around the country.

It wasn’t just small stores that were hit but big shopping malls too, which had managed to attract many more consumers during the holiday period in recent years. According to retailers, most consumers chose only to stroll along the high streets and window shop instead of splashing out on Christmas purchases.

On a slightly brighter note, the rate of reduction in turnover over the Christmas period has slowed compared to previous years, as in 2013 it had dropped 10 percent year-on-year and in 2012 by some 30 percent.

The hardest-hit sector is that of apparel, which is attributed to anticipation of the winter sales, set to begin on January 12. There was however a welcome growth in turnover in book sales.