ECONOMY

Winter sales to last month and a half

Winter sales this year are to run from January 15 to February 28, a period in which the country’s commercial enterprises hope to make some gains following a rather sluggish Christmas period. According to legislation currently in force, during the sales period shops are required to display two prices on item labels, one with the regular price and one showing the discounted price, or the rate of discount. Consumers should carefully consider those details before making purchases. In addition, they can call a special Development Ministry service (tel 1520) to be informed about various sales issues as well as to lodge complaints. Meanwhile, during the recent Christmas period commerce has seen what could be described as its worst holiday period in terms of business, with sales at levels not only below expectations but even lower than those recorded one year previously. Many retailers believe that the market may have been affected primarily by the recent wave of price hikes in fuel and foodstuffs, as well as by the frantic bank borrowing of households. Indicative of market conditions, certain surveys have shown that consumers in the last Christmas period preferred or were obliged to spend less on presents and other items, so as to have enough to pay for essential foodstuffs and related products. Interestingly, in the case of stores and commercial businesses, Christmas time is a sound indicator of their eventual financial results, given that they earn as much as 25 percent of their annual income in the period.