Christmas supermarket sales at pre-pandemic levels while small businesses struggle

Retail sales during the Christmas season reached pre-pandemic levels, the executive secretary of the Supermarkets’ Association of Cyprus told CNA. At the same time, Pancyprian Organisation of Professional Craftsmen and Shopkeepers (CyCPOVEK) told CNA that shopping at medium and small businesses was below expectations and asked for government support.

Retail shopping reached pre-pandemic levels and took place without problems, the executive secretary of the Supermarkets’ Association of Cyprus, Andreas Hadjadamou, told CNA. “It went very well, beyond our expectations” he said, noting that “it was at satisfactory levels, similar to 2019 and we are completely satisfied”.

He added that supermarkets had made sure to boost the Christmas market with offers. “People saw that all the supermarkets had improved their offers in a wide range of products that also included the festive table. Therefore, the prices moved to very satisfactory levels and we can say that results will not be very different from last year, when the Christmas and holiday market is evaluated”, he noted.

On the other hand, Stephanos Koursaris, general secretary of CyCPOVEK told CNA that the shopping during the holidays was not what was expected. “It was below the expectations of shopkeepers”, he said, appealing to the state to support small and medium enterprises.

“People were reserved. There is a general uncertainty, which is why people have perhaps limited themselves only to the essentials”, said Koursaris.

“On the one hand, we know that large companies, supermarket chains, large department stores have significantly increased turnover and profits, and on the other hand, small family businesses, due to various policies that have been implemented, are having a very difficult time,” he noted.

“The small shopkeeper cannot afford these conditions, he does not have the funds for advertising. So the state should help these businesses, so they can become the backbone of society again,” he said.

On his part, Cyprus Consumers’ Association president, Marios Droushiotis, said that “we are very pleased” with the market during the festive season, noting that the only complaints were about gift exchanges.

“Before Christmas we issued an announcement and in our advice we emphasised for consumers’ to make sure whether an exchange can be made, by what day and if the store accepts exchanges”. He added that the Association received several complaints about stores not issuing refunds or the store not going through with exchanges. “Legislatively, there is no obligation for the store to accept exchanges, unless it declares it from the beginning,” he underlined.

Regarding the prices, he said that meat was up by 20-25%, but this was somewhat offset by fruit and vegetable prices, which had dropped. “At Christmas we bought field cucumbers for 60-80 cents and greenhouse cucumbers for less than 50 cents. This has never happened before. Tomatoes were almost half the price of previous years and holiday seasons,” he said, while noting that overall the festive table was about 10% more expensive than last year.

Source: Cyprus News Agency