The Greek shop owners who are still in business – amid a sea of austerity and unemployment – are hoping that the start of the January sales will bring more customers through their doors.
Shoppers who are suffering their sixth year of recession were lured into the main commercial streets by promises of bargains, with retailers, worried, but hopeful.
As the sales started on Tuesday, Andreas Triantafyllides, of clothing store Strongylos in central Athens, said: “In previous years, December and January accounted for around four or five months worth of our business. Now of course, things are very different because we have the crisis but we also offer discounts frequently during the year.”
They need the boost from the bargain hunters.
Sales in the run-up to Christmas were down 20 percent on the previous year, according to the Hellenic Retail and Business Association.
Household budgets have been squeezed by austerity measures, including higher taxes and cuts in public sector pay and pensions to shore up public finances.
There are shuttered shops everywhere, which is no surprise given that surveys show the crisis means Greeks have lost half of their purchasing power over the past two years.