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Economy

High Prices Drive Down Greek Retail Sales, Stores Hope Easter Comeback

April 10, 2024

ATHENS – Retail commerce turnover in the first quarter of 2024 was disappointing, according to traders’ estimates. The market is now pinning its hopes on the Easter period and tourism, although both have a strong seasonal and local character.

So far, official figures are only available for January, which, in fact, only concerns relatively large companies. They show that turnover in retail trade fell by 18.4% compared to January 2023, while if the food, fuel, and vehicle sectors are excluded, the decline in turnover was even greater, at 34.1%.

The fact that there is still high inflation, albeit lower than last year, means that the decrease in turnover is mainly due to a decrease in real demand.

The decline in demand is hitting certain retail sectors more, mainly traditional ones (clothing, footwear, furniture, etc.), and not so much the food, fuel, and vehicle sectors. This can also be seen from the figures for the retail trade turnover in 2022 and 2023.

According to the analysis of the Hellenic Statistical Authority data by Giorgos Baltas, a professor at the Athens University of Economics and Business, the entire retail trade turnover reached €68.14 billion last year, recording an increase of 7% compared to 2022, when it had come to €63.7 billion. However, if the food, fuel, and vehicle sectors are excluded, turnover in 2023 was €24.82 billion, registering a smaller increase of 5.6% compared to 2022 (€23.50 billion).

Especially in the fourth quarter of 2023, a quarter in which retail trade always has high expectations due to Christmas and Black Friday, turnover growth was only 3.7% compared to the fourth quarter of 2022, while if the food, fuel, and vehicle sectors are excluded, turnover growth in an inflationary year was just 1.5%.

Besides the sector, there were also different performances in terms of the size of the companies. The turnover of small and medium-sized retail enterprises reached €10.66 billion in the fourth quarter of 2023, an increase of just 1.7% compared to the fourth quarter of 2022 when it had amounted to €10.48 billion.

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