Retail offers and sales for 2019 started before the change of the new year at several outlets across Greece, even though winter sales do not officially kick off until Monday, January 14, and run through Thursday, February 28.
In an effort to cater to increased demand, numerous retailers resorted to discounts on their merchandise by up to 70 percent during the festive season. The phenomenon has brought back to the table an ongoing – and so far fruitless – discussion concerning demands for changes to the winter sales period so that it begins right after Christmas, as in other European countries.
In the United Kingdom and in Portugal, for instance, the winter sales began on December 26.
A Greek law dating to 2013 provides for the winter sales to start on the second Monday of January and to end on February 28 or 29. In recent years, however, shrinking disposable income has resulted in consumers either making very few purchases during the holiday period in anticipation of the sales, or, having spent plenty of money during the festive season, being unable to shell out any significant amounts of money during the sales.
Similarly, the start of the summer sales in mid-July is perceived as misplaced by many retailers who believe that consumers tend to shop more at the beginning of the summer.
An interesting example is the McArthurGlen designer outlet in Spata in eastern Attica. The so-called “discount village” has introduced extra offers and sales starting on Wednesday, January 2 and running to January 12, while in its effort to attract more consumers on Wednesday it is hosting a program of children’s activities (movie screenings, theater workshops, etc).
Notably the stores at the designer outlet will be open today, even though January 2 is a day when most stores remain closed, ostensibly to sort out their inventory. However, this is neither an obligatory holiday nor a traditional one.
Representatives of workers in the retail sector had demanded that Labor Minister Effie Achtsioglou make January 2 an obligatory holiday last year, but this has not happened to date.