Sunday trade could add festive cheer

Greece’s largest chamber of commerce, the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA), has called on the government to allow retail stores to operate on the last Sunday of the year to help add some Christmas cheer to the sector. Constantinos Michalos, EBEA’s president, sent a letter to the Development Ministry yesterday asking that stores be allowed to stay open on December 28. «We believe that the operation of stores will serve the consumers and, secondly, will boost small and medium-sized retail stores in our country,» said Michalos. According to government sources, the ministry is open to the suggestion on the condition that the proposal has the consent of workers in the sector. Retailers say that the global financial crisis has resulted in a sharp drop in sales, which is likely to continue throughout the Christmas period. Last week, the Attica department store, which operates one of the city’s largest retail outlets, said it expects to meet its full-year 2008 targets but revised expectations lower for next year. The retailer’s sales in the first 10 months of the year rose by an annual clip of 23 percent, in line with its annual goals. Others chambers of commerce also backed the call for the extra trading day, adding that members can cut prices to attract customers. Retail sales in Greece are held during the January-February and July-August periods.