Stock shops attract bargain-hunting Athenians

«Can you believe it? I bought a 1,000-euro Galliano jacket for 100 euros. And I found loads of designer clothes at amazing prices.» That’s from a happy shopper emerging from one of the popular stock shops that have sprung up all over Athens. In 2003, more than 20 percent of the money Greeks spent on clothes went to stock shops. Customers on a small or average-sized budget flock to stock shops where they can get clothes, shoes, accessories and many other items at almost half price. «The tight economic situation brings lots of people to our discount stores, which are seeing an increase in customers (more than 850,000 last year) turnover and profit,» Nikos Papathanassiou, manager of a large discount department store on Pireos Street told Kathimerini. «In the past three years, business has increased by 30 percent. Now, with Christmas coming, the stores are very busy, especially on Saturdays. Our discounts range from 40 to 60 percent on most items, none of which are more than a year old and all of which are genuine brands.» Customers of stock shops have thought it through. «I don’t mind buying Dolce & Gabbana or Versace jeans that came out last year instead of those that came out a month ago,» Maria Gaitani said. The prices are tempting and with the holiday season here and customers in the mood to buy, some people are not waiting until the winter sales to get their bargain buys. Men’s trousers and jackets from a well-known Italian fashion house cost just 15-20 euros at a stock shop on the Athens-Lamia highway. Women’s down jackets from an expensive Italian designer are 100 euros, and tops that would cost at least 100 euros in a regular store are selling for less than 50 euros. How did stock shops develop? Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vice-President Nikos Yiannetos explains: «Stock shops have become much more widespread in the past 5-6 years. The way the trade has developed, it needs businesses to move goods on a regular basis and acquire customers who have more frequent contact with their store. «Of course, storeowners must play the game fairly. An item sold at a specific price elsewhere must be sold at cost by a stock shop. If it has some defect, the store must make the customer aware of it. Nearly all companies with a chain of shops (20-30 stores around Greece) have stock shops and the major brands also have stock shops. And, of course, there are stock items on sale at local markets and supermarkets.»