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Athens Retailers Call for Shopping Destination Promo Plan

Athens, Greece. Photo © Maria Theofanopoulou

Greece must draw up and implement a comprehensive shopping destination branding strategy if it wants to see revenues rise, the Athens Traders Association (ESA) said this week.

Based on findings of an ESA six-month report, released over the weekend, profits from the August 2019 sales period were lower compared to last year’s, while shops operating outside Athens’ main tourism areas did not appear to be impacted by tourism.

Open Sign StoreThe findings “should mobilize all of us immediately because the challenges identified are also the great opportunities ahead of us. Planning a comprehensive ‘shopping in Athens’ strategy that will double tourist spending on shopping, coupled with the gradual ease of taxation on citizens, could in the short term create a ‘growth shock’ for Greece,” said ESA President Stavros Kafounis, adding that the association would be working closely with local government in this direction.

More specifically, for the 2019 winter sales period, 11 percent of store owners reported improved turnover; 24.1 percent said it was the same; and 63.5 percent said it had decreased.

With regard to the 2019 summer sales period, 24.9 percent said profits had increased, 16.7 percent said gains were the same, while 57.9 percent said they had dropped.

Shop-owners surveyed cited Greek consumers’ shrinking income as the main cause for low turnover over the last few years.

Additionally, one in five stores, or 18.1 percent, of the total did not open on Sunday, July 14, the first day of summer sales, with the figure greater in regional markets.

Of those who did open, 10.8 percent said turnover was better compared to the same Sunday in 2018; 22.1 percent said it was the same; and about one in two stores, or 47 percent, said it dropped.

In a statement, ESA notes that local authorities must work with ESA to create a comprehensive “shopping in Athens” strategy together with a strong market brand aimed at “increasing the per capita consumption of visitors to our country, which is currently at a very low level”.

Proprietors polled also said that ensuring safety and tackling delinquency were key to contributing to the upgrade of market operation.

More specifically, 52.9 percent said safety and crime was the biggest problem, followed by 21.6 percent who cited issues of public space management such as cleanliness, and 21.1 percent who referred to accessibility, including issues of transportation and parking.

The study was carried out in Athens’ main shopping areas including the commercial triangle in the heart of the Greek capital, Kolonaki, Patission, Omonia Sq, and Kypseli, among others.

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