ECONOMY

Supermarkets battle decline in demand

The drop in demand even for basic commodities that is likely to continue in the coming months is generating a battle of offers among supermarket chains. Survey data compiled by IRI for the last 12 months show that sales of detergents in supermarkets have declined by 14.2 percent in volume and 3.7 percent in value on an annual basis; milk sales have dropped by 0.7 percent in volume and 6.6 percent in value; yogurt sales have fallen 2.8 percent in volume and 4.4 percent in value; and sales of olive oil have shrunk by 0.3 percent in volume and 9.9 percent in value. In view of this, supermarkets are adopting a more aggressive policy, with Lidl announcing that it will not pass on to customers the announced rise of value-added tax by two percentage points from July 1. Other chains are running promotional campaigns aimed at refreshing consumer interest in various products.