Supermarket chains recorded a turnover increase of some 35 percent in the first couple of days after the SYRIZA-led government decided to call a referendum. Since Saturday, many Greeks have been rushing to buy non-perishable food items and other key goods, in some cases emptying shelves.
The great demand for food such as rice, pasta, beans and milk has forced retailers to scramble to fill their shelves, which can sit empty for hours not due to lack of goods but rather because of the insufficiency of the supply mechanism to keep up with demand.
At the same time there is widespread concern in the imports sector, with professional groups mainly involved in the trade of fresh food issuing urgent requests to the special Commission for Bank Transactions Approval at the State General Accounting Office.
“Supermarket traffic is now somewhat reminiscent of the stock market and sways according to developments. In the afternoon, when the news broke about a restart to the negotiations, the activity eased. One hour later that changed and the activity grew again,” a senior official at a leading supermarket chain told Kathimerini on Tuesday.
The General Secretariat of Commerce and Consumer Protection Issues on Tuesday reaffirmed that the market will not have any supply problems. It conducted inspections around the country and did not identify any unusual price hikes or shortages in goods. If anything, it noted a small decline in the prices of fruit and vegetables at open-air markets.
There is also great concern among importers of goods such as meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. Although in many cases the load orders have been approved by the suppliers, the bank transactions needed will also require the approval of the special commission.
The Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEV) stressed how great the risk to raw materials and food is from the delay in payments and deliveries. It added that even the special commission does not have the time to respond to all demands for the approval of bank transactions for imports by exception.
The same issue was highlighted on Tuesday by the president of the Panhellenic Exporters’ Association, Christina Sakellaridi, in a meeting with the board of Enterprise Greece.