ECONOMY

Sales to offer savings of up to 60 pct

Winter sales begin tomorrow across Greece, lasting until February 28 and featuring considerable discounts that are expected to reach as high as 60 percent. Retailers will be offering such unprecedented discounts in the hope of rekindling the market and making up for some of the loss in turnover suffered last December due to the violent events in the center of Athens and elsewhere around the country. These sales may be the last chance for small traders to survive financially, as the rest of 2009 is likely to bring a further decline in turnover and profits. The battle for market share in retail is expected to be even more cut-throat than in previous years, with big chains implementing more aggressive policies and widely advertising their discounts and smaller companies – particularly in neighborhood shopping centers – stressing their personal relationships with customers. Another shift from previous years will be the high level of discounts from the start of the sales period, unlike in the past when they rose toward final last week of sales. Clothing will see discounts of up to 50 percent, furniture and household equipment up to 60 percent and electrical goods up to 40 percent. The General Secretariat for Consumers warned yesterday against the careless use of credit cards and consumer loans and stressed shoppers should check prices without getting carried away by the discounts advertised.