The head of the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE), Vassilis Korkidis, yesterday proposed a six-month-long sales period through to the end of the year. Speaking within the context of an event held by the Economy Ministry on the national plan to support small and medium-sized enterprises, Korkidis said that he will propose to ESEE members and other trade bodies in Greece that they maintain until the end of the year the low prices presently on offer during the sales period, which started last Thursday and is to last until August 31. Nevertheless the market remains frozen, with very little interest from consumers, even though price cuts are so steep that in some cases they even reach 70 percent. The ESEE president’s proposal comes at a particularly hard time for the retail market, which not only is seeing turnover and profits shrink from last year but also hundreds of large and small enterprises closing down as well as certain multinational chains depart the country, leaving thousands of unemployed workers behind. Hellastat data revealed yesterday that Greek enterprises showed a decline in sales last year for the first time since 2000, posting a 7 percent drop. In 2008, they had shown 3.2 percent growth. The average annual decline in profits amounted to 12.6 percent. Speaking at the same event, Economy Minister Louka Katseli announced three new initiatives for supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, adding up to 1.05 billion euros. This package will benefit up to 15,000 companies.