Row erupts over Sunday trading in Christmas lead-up

The National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (ESEE) described the possibility of retail stores in Athens opening for business on Sunday, December 12, as being unacceptable and said it would benefit large companies. ‘Continually lower turnover will not increase (with the extra day of trade) but will just be redistributed in favor of the larger supermarkets and commercial malls in the center of Athens,’ ESEE said in a statement yesterday. ‘This unacceptable decision by the Athens prefecture may be the opening to begin Sunday trading.’ Greece’s largest private-sector union GSEE also opposed the move, insisting that the decision is illegal and infringes on worker rights. Greece’s deepening recession and plunging consumer confidence have weighed heavily on retail sales figures, which fell by an annual pace of 12 percent in August, according to the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).