Supermarket officials rushed to unexpected meetings on Tuesday to prepare for the implementation of the government’s decisions as they had less than 24 hours to comply with the ban on the sale of a series of durable goods such as apparel, toys, electronics and furniture by their chains as of Wednesday and until the end of the lockdown.
According to the Development Ministry decision published on Tuesday in the Government Gazette, from Wednesday until November 30 at the earliest, supermarket chains in Greece will not be allowed to sell any commodities that are normally sold in specialized stores that have been forced to shut down due to the lockdown, citing unfair competition. They can only sell them online, just like specialized stores.
The products that will have to come off the shelves as of Wednesday morning are computers and software, telecommunications equipment, sound and vision equipment, textile products, rugs, electrical appliances, furniture and lighting commodities (with the exception of light bulbs), toys, clothes (except for stockings), shoes and books.
In fact, the government is considering reopening small bookstores, but not chains that sell books as well as tech products.
The decision met with the approval of traders’ associations, but supermarket chains faced a race against time to comply with the new rules. Market analysts say the chains that will face the biggest losses are Sklavenitis and Lidl, though all companies will also have to withdraw advertising that includes any of the above products.
The decision has its paradoxical elements too: Stockings may be sold, but not socks, while cash & carry stores will continue to offer such merchandise.
Some chains, such as Lidl, decided on Tuesday to completely withdraw those products from their shelves, while others, such as My Market, have considered cordoning off aisles with products whose sale is banned.
The ministerial decision also stipulated that supermarkets will be allowed to open by exception this Sunday.