Greek retailers faced their worst Christmas sales turnover in a decade, posting a reduction of about 40 percent compared to 2011 across the debt-laden country, according to first estimates on Dec. 27. As the negative result exceeds their forecast before the holidays, they now hope that the extent of damage might be reduced ahead of New Year’s Eve and during the sales period in January.
In the clothing and shoe sector, shop owners reported a 50 percent decline in comparison with last year, in the electrical appliances market an average of 40 percent, and in cosmetics and books a 30 percent reduction, the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) said on Dec. 27.
Recession-hit Greek consumers spent approximately 20 percent less compared to 2011 even for food products, according to the survey.
Until Dec. 24, only one out of eight Greeks bought clothing and shoes, two out of five purchased toys for children and three out of five turned to low cost presents.
Based on these results, ESEE expects that the turnover in the sector throughout the holiday period will shrink to 7.6 billion euros (10.08 billion U.S. dollars) down from 9.25 billion euros in 2011 and 13.2 billion euros in 2010.
During the entire year of 2012 retailers forecast a total turnover of less than 50 billion euros compared to 60.5 billion euros in 2011.
The image of the Greek retail sector reflects the wider image of the ailing economy which is still struggling to overcome an acute three-year crisis which has threatened it with a chaotic default.
The average Greek household has been hit hard by tough austerity introduced to tackle the crisis, which has fueled unemployment and poverty rates and reduced consumers’ spending power.