ECONOMY

Retail sales post 12 pct annual decline in August

Retail sales dropped 11.8 percent in August, compared with the same month in 2009, according to data released yesterday by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT). The decline amounts to 12 percent without fuel sales factored in. It was a month dominated by the summer sales, as the annual decline at apparel stores amounted to 15.5 percent. There was also a notable decline of 11.7 percent in supermarket sales, which until recently was considered nonflexible. Retailers are now expecting to see the new law concerning discounts and when it will apply, as they are eager make their stock of promotional gifts available for sale by the year’s end. Meanwhile yesterday, the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (ESEE) asked in a letter to Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou for a change to a single value-added tax rate of 15 percent (from 11 and 23 percent today) on all commodities, with just a few exceptions to remain at 11 percent.