Sometimes on Sunday

Sunday opening is not an issue, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas yesterday replied to a parliamentary question from the main opposition about shops’ opening hours. Sioufas reiterated that the ministry’s recent proposal referred only to the optional opening of stores for seven Sundays per year (two to three in December, two before Easter, one in the winter sales and one in the summer). He remarked that this was «a real demand by society and enterprises,» adding that «beyond the proposal which I and [Deputy Minister Yiannis] Papathanassiou have tabled, other approaches may come, possibly more interesting.» In his response Sioufas presented a series of interesting data about entrepreneurship and employment, according to which in the 2004-2005 period the number of enterprises to register with TEBE, the fund for the self-employed, came to 100,906, while in the same period the number of enterprises closing down were 73,742. This signifies a net increase of 27,164 companies. Similarly, over the same period, 18,629 new enterprises registered with TAE, the merchants’ fund, against 16,711 members closing, a net increase of 1,918 enterprises. As for employment, the 2005 data by the National Statistics Service (NSS) show wholesale and retail commerce as the champion in increasing jobs: Out of the 17 sectors of economic activity, this has contributed the biggest portion of the increase in employment (65.4 percent) in the first half of 2005 from that of 2004. From a total of 51,439 more employees, 33,639 were in the wholesale and retail trade sector. Finally, the employment index in retail trade rose by a total of 2.4 percent in the third quarter of 2005 compared with Q3 of 2004.

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