The midterm sales in retail commerce start on Monday, November 1, and will continue until November 15, with stores hoping they will not face any new lockdowns or further restrictions, as was the case last year.
Next Sunday, November 7, stores will be allowed to open, while some have already started promoting offers. The opening hours allowed next Sunday will be from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., while the Athens Chamber of Tradesmen has proposed that stores open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The intermediary sales window will practically be the first test for retail ahead of the Christmas period, with Black Friday also in between; this year it will be on November 26. Although the chances of a general lockdown like last year’s appear unlikely at least in the coming weeks, and restrictions are much looser, retailers have two significant reasons to worry about developments in the market during the coming period. The first is the possibility of consumers being reserved in their purchases due to the major price hikes, and the second is possible shortages in certain product categories. Some major retail chains have already warned about shortages in certain products ahead of Black Friday. This concerns durable consumer goods and not food.
The restrictions already in place will continue for the time being: masks for all staff, and the maximum number of customers at any given time stands at one person per 2 square meters; this rule also applies for shops within malls or discount villages, as well as retail stores operating on “shops in a shop” agreements.
On Friday the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) announced the data on retail turnover for August 2021, showing an annual increase of 8.8% from August 2020. This was not only thanks to the suppressed consumer demand observed in the summer, but also to the major increase in incoming tourism.
The biggest growth in sales volume on an annual basis was recorded in the apparel sector, up 17.5%, followed by pharmaceuticals and cosmetics (17.1%), and sales at bookstores and technology product shops (up 9.2%).