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Greek retailers try to overturn gloomy Christmas sales with further discounts

(Xinhua)

13:48, December 29, 2011

ATHENS, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Faced with their worst Christmas season in a decade, Greek retail sector launched on Wednesday a round of special holiday offers to overturn a negative sales turnover.

A gloomy Christmas amidst deep recession in the debt-laden country was reflected in the revenues of shops across Greece this December, according to the estimates of the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE).

Compared with last year, a decline of up to 40 percent was reported in the clothing and shoe sector, 30 percent on average in the electrical appliances market and 20 percent in cosmetics.

Based on these results, local analysts forecast that total turnover in the sector is expected to drop to 9.25 billion euros (11.97 billion U.S. dollars) this Christmas season, down from 13.2 billion euros (17.08 billion dollars) in 2010 and 18 billion euros (23.28 billion dollars) throughout 2011.

Despite discounts of up to 50 percent over the past few weeks, average consumers who suffer from a two-year wave of cuts on wages and pensions and tax hikes re-evaluated necessity and spent less on Christmas gifts and even food this year, as the country is struggling to avert a default and overcome the debt crisis.

According to ESEE's estimates, Greeks will spend on average 288 euros (372.56 dollars) on shopping during the season, down from 410 euros (530.37 dollars) in 2010.

To attract consumers, the confederation announced further "special holiday offers" until the year end with discounts of up to 70 percent.

Since the start of the crisis in late 2009, over 60,000 small businesses have closed throughout Greece and some 25,000 stores are struggling to stay afloat and face the prospect of closure next year.

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