ECONOMY

Shop owners report large drop in sales

Retailers are reporting disappointing revenues two weeks after the start of the summer sales, with the president of the Hellenic Retail Business Association (SELPE), Theodoros Vardas, suggesting an annual decline of 20 percent. Although sales at apparel and home products stores are offering discounts of up to 70 percent, the decline in household spending in general and the inability of shopkeepers to reduce prices further mean that the market has been in constant decline since 2008, with total losses adding up to 30 percent. Vardas added that he did not expect any sign of a rebound in retail before the second half of 2011. The negative market picture is also evident in data provided by the Hellenic Statistical Authority for May, which show turnover in the apparel sector posting an 8.5 percent decline from the previous month and a 17.7 percent drop from May 2009. Turnover at department stores in May posted a 10.9 percent drop from last year, while sales volume contracted by 11.2 percent from May 2009. There was, however, a monthly increase of 6 percent in turnover. In this context, new investments appear particularly notable. In September, Notos Com will open its new Notos Galleries department store in Thessaloniki.