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December retail turnover seen missing 4 bln euro target

December retail turnover seen missing 4 bln euro target

ATHENS: Turnover in December is not expected to reach the target of 4 billion euros, the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) estimated on Monday, blaming lackluster consumer demand on the increasing pressure felt by taxpayers.

In the last month of 2015, turnover in the retail sector just pushed past the mark at 4.1 billion euros, but still fell far short of the 6.43 billion euros recorded before the start of the crisis, in December 2009.

The cumulative drop in turnover was 38 percent and six-year losses came to 2.43 billion euros, according to ESEE, while on an annual basis the decline is estimated at above 100 million euros compared with 2015.

ESEE said that the drop in turnover in Greek retail stores can be attributed to pressure felt by the country’s 6 million taxpayers to shell out a total of 4 billion euros in income, property and road tax, among other commitments, by the end of the year.

“These are factors that limit consumer spending and suction potential funds that would otherwise be directed into the real economy,” said ESEE chief Vassilis Korkidis in a statement on Monday.

Korkidis also blamed Greece’s international creditors for failing to wrap up a pending bailout review, saying that this has created skittishness in the market but also contributed to a “climate of uncertainty, inability to plan ahead and constant procrastination.”

“The constantly decreasing holiday turnover of the past few years reflects the increasingly tough conditions under which businesses and households are expected to survive,” Korkidis said.