Greek Stores Say Never On Sunday

ATHENS – Despite a new law allowing Sunday openings, nearly 40 percent of Greece’s retail stores didn’t open on July 20 and the traders association said sales were disappointing for many of those who did.

That was the result of a survey in commercial districts conducted by the Commerce and Services Institute of the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE).

Of a random sample of 227 enterprises in the central shopping districts of Athens and Thessaloniki as well as some important suburban hubs such as Piraeus, Maroussi, Nea Ionia, Glyfada and Peristeri, about 78 percent of traders were not satisfied with sales as the turnover was much smaller than that seen on November 3 and January 19.

Hopes that tourists would take advantage of Sunday openings didn’t materialize, and slack domestic consumption also hurt the cause of those who believed it would bring in more business.

Especially in the center of Athens, there was no positive response from consumers, so most entrepreneurs said the measure was completely ineffective, according to ESEE, which had always opposed Sunday opening.

The majority of traders (64 percent) responded that opening their stores on Sundays adds to their operating costs, but there was also a significant minority (36 percent) who said the additional burden was negligible or zero.

Almost all the business owners said they wouldn’t hire more people as Sunday help. ESEE said the response ended any argument for Sunday openings adding more jobs.

“It appears the beaches stole the show from the sales,” said confederation head Vassilis Korkidis, in reference to Greeks and tourists preferring to go swimming instead of shopping.