ECONOMY

Growth prospects as retail sales post healthy rise

Greek retail sales prospects for recovery and growth are positive, according to the annual review for 2003 by Kantor Capital. The rise in consumer demand, combined with rationalization and restructuring by many big players in the retail trade, have resulted in a considerable rise in profits in most sectors despite intense competition. This positive picture is also due to the completion of internal reorganization projects, curbing expenses and the development of more effective customer services. The development of sales networks remains the main objective of major companies, aiming at the biggest geographical coverage possible. After the loss-making and unplanned expansion of the previous years, 2003 has been a year of cautious growth. Forecasts for this year are particularly positive for the supermarket, electrical goods, electronics and car sales sectors. Clothing and shoes, as well as the fast-food sector, can also expect a rise this year, even though competition remains fierce. Sales are helped by new products and services on offer, own brands by supermarkets, bigger and more stores across the country and foreign investment, particularly in the clothing industry. The Kantor Capital survey recorded a 7.7 percent increase in total retail sales in 2003, and an impressive 80.6 percent rise in profits, compared with a much more moderate growth rate in 2002, at 6.3 percent. Furthermore, it showed an increase in retail sales in most sectors, with the supermarkets strengthened by 13.4 percent from 2002. The supermarket sector remains the retail leader, representing 54 percent of total sales, with car sales a distant second at 17 percent. Clothing and shoes are third with 12 percent.