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article imageChristmas gloom as retail sales fall 30 percent in Greece

By Katerina Nikolas     Dec 27, 2011 in Business
A headline in the Times read "The Greeks do not do Christmas this year." Gloom descended on the retail sector as even the cut price pre-Christmas offers and discounts had sales down by 30 percent on last year.
Austerity and emergency taxes took their toll this Christmas in Greece, as the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) reported sales dropped 30 percent over last year.
Vassilis Korkidis, head of the ESEE, said "Initial estimates from all over Greece suggest disappointing sales, with clothing and footwear experiencing a 40 percent reduction, electrical and electronic goods 30 percent, cosmetics, books and gifts 20 percent, and even food and beverages falling by 15 percent." (Athens News)
Ekathimerini quoted the ESEE saying "Nine out of 10 Greeks are less generous, not out of choice but out of necessity." Consumer confidence is shattered as unemployment reaches unprecedented levels and new austerity measures to be introduced in the New Year.
What little money there is is required to pay the second installement of the emergency property tax, with the bills arriving in festive fashion just before Christmas. Taxes on heating oil, slashed wages and pensions, have each contributed to a lack of disposable income. Ta Nea notes that there has been a marked increase in those making use of soup kitchens, and the number of homeless Greeks is on the rise.
Depressed Christmas sales are likely to herald more business failures in the New Year.
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