In the opening quarter of 2024, the retail sector is disappointing for businesses, notably small and medium-sized enterprises, as purchasing activity registers low figures. Businesses are now hoping on an upcoming influx of tourists and the Easter holiday to inject much-needed relief.

During yesterday’s online press conference organized by the Athens Chamber of Commerce and featuring Minister of Development Kostas Skrekas, President of the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce Theodoros Kapralos it was noted that while 2023 started positively for merchants, conditions deteriorated significantly over the last two quarters, with further declines observed in the early months of this year.

It should be noted that businesses with simplified accounting data, predominantly small-scale, experienced their first sales decrease of 3% in the last quarter of 2023.

Particularly revealing are the statistics concerning the broader Athens region. According to data from ELSTAT, in the last quarter of 2023, the turnover in the overall retail trade sector shows a positive change of 5.2%. Excluding the sectors of vehicles, food, and fuel, there is essentially stagnation, with turnover changing by just 0.4%.

Stavros Kafounis, President of the Athens Chamber of Commerce, highlighted the ongoing struggle within the retail sector. He emphasized the particularly difficult situation faced by small businesses, noting that despite challenges like inflation and rising operating costs, they closed the year with a significant 3% deficit, leaving many feeling financially squeezed.