The retail market is particularly unhappy with the third lockdown that begins Thursday in Attica, stressing that neither the full closure of the market since November nor the partial reopening of stores afterward proved efficient against the pandemic and the recession.
Giorgos Karanikas, the president of the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE), spoke of a cacophony of announcements and estimates that it will have a negative impact on the market and consumers. He stresses that after the retailers’ losses last Easter, during the fall sales, Black Friday and the Christmas period, they now face the loss of the rest of the winter sales, which end on the same day as the new Attica lockdown.
The loss of the sales over the last three months entailed a huge cost for retail commerce, as besides the revenue losses and fixed costs, the sector (especially apparel retail) is suffering due to the fact that most of its winter stock has been left unsold: These are products acquired by companies but which were mostly left in warehouses – and of course that’s another cost.
“Stores should never have closed. They should operate using the click-inside [shopping by appointment] system with the setting of time and location restrictions so as to reduce movement and avoid people abusing the opportunity to shop,” Stavros Kafounis, the president of the Athens Traders Association, told Kathimerini.
“The market needs routine, continuity. What has been happening recently kills everything off,” an experienced retail professional told Kathimerini, wishing to remain anonymous. He added that the state could have drawn up a longer-term plan providing for scheduled openings and closings of the market that would have been made known in advance.
A large section of the market remains in favor of time limits on shopping, with the use of a countdown app on smartphones as well as feature phones. The General Secretariat for Commerce and Consumer Protection had already made some preparations in that direction, but the Prime Minister’s Office rejected the measure, with sources saying there may be an issue of personal rights violations.