Despite falling inflation and rising salaries, many consumers’ wallets remain half-empty. This is evident in low-income households, as one would expect, but also among the ‘middle classes’, where around half of all households are burdened with bills and bank debts and say they will spend less on non-food items.

Confronted with ever-rising living costs, many consumers have become “value hackers”, a TikTok-enhanced trends for bargain hunters to employ new methods to make the most out of the money they have.

Some of these money-saving “hacks” include shopping for lower-priced clothes and shoes, seeking out deals and discounts, buying smaller package sizes when it comes to cosmetics and toiletries, purchasing second-hand tech items (and not only tech), and choosing cheaper alternatives to premium or luxury brands.

The growth of budget retailing in the domestic market is reflected both in the performance of retail companies that invest in permanent low prices, such as Jumbo Toy stores and the discount chain supermarkets Lidl, and the rapid growth of low-cost foreign chains (the Polish Pepco and Sinsay, the Turkish LC Waikiki, and the Serbian Lili Drogerie), as well as the silent invasion of the Chinese platforms Temu and Shein.

Polish chain Pepco—a chain of discount shops offering apparel and household products at the lowest prices—began its commercial activity in Greece in early October 2022 and already has 27 stores nationwide, with management appearing satisfied with the performance in terms of turnover. In fact, according to Konstantinos Vlassis, the chain’s Expansion Manager, the parent company has increased the budget for Pepco’s further expansion in the Greek market.

In fact, they plan to double the number of stores during 2024 to increase brand awareness in Greece. The ultimate goal for the Greek market is 200 stores across the country, Vlassis said.

The Polish retail chain is committed to 100% value retailing (its most expensive item retails at under 30 euros) and to expanding faster in the provinces following the strategy of co-housing.  A strategic collaboration has already moved forward with AB Vassilopoulos whereby the chain will operate points of sale in AB supermarkets in five cities in Northern Greece.

Another Polish group—LPP—is implementing a dynamic expansion plan in the Greek market, with six of its SiNSAY chain stores due to be operational by the end of January 2024.

The Polish chain is making its debut in the Greek market with two new stores, one on Petrou Ralli Street in Athens, the second in the port of Piraeus.

Offering a variety of products from clothes to household goods and cosmetics, all at affordable prices, the group aims to reach 30 stores within the next two years. At the same time, another brand from the same group is also planning to penetrate the Greek market.

Turkish chain LC Waikiki, an Istanbul-based ready-to-wear fashion chain, is growing slowly but surely.

In 2023, the company added two more sales points to its network: one in Ioannina in north-western Greece and a second in Heraklion, Crete, in the Talos Plaza shopping center.

The chain now has 10 stores in Greece and is planning to expand further with one more store in Kavala in the north of the country.

Serbian cosmetic chain Lili Drogerie opened its first outlet in Greece in April 2021.  It now has 19 stores across the Attica region.

In addition to selling products from well-known cosmetic and personal care brands, the company has developed its own brand name to provide a lower-cost alternative.