Easter sales down, says small shopkeepers in Cyprus

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The earnings of SME’s (Small and Medium Enterprises) in Cyprus were significantly reduced this Easter, compared with previous years with the exception of food and essential consumer goods, according to the organisation of small shop owners (POVEK).
The Secretary General of POVEK Stefanos Koursaris told the Cyprus News Agency that even these reduced earnings were channeled to large supermarket chains and big department stores, as a result of the decree for extended shop opening hours issued by the Ministry of Labour.
"There was a very big drop in sales compared to previous years, with the exception of essential goods, mainly food, where sales were satisfactory. Beyond that there was a great reduction in other sectors, such as clothes, shoes, appliances, gifts and toys," Koursaris explained.
POVEK said the drop in sales was mainly the result of the economic crisis on the island, that led consumers to reduce their needs. Koursaris pointed out that the extended shop opening hours favoured only the supermarket chains and the big stores, thus impeding fair competition.
Members of POVEK and other trade unions are planning a series of meetings this week to decide measures, particularly in relation to the extended shopping hours, starting with the first meeting on Friday 25 April.
As a first measure of protest, shop owners are expected to decide hanging a black cloth outside their shops. POVEK warns that if the Minister of Labour does not revoke the decree, then they will take more drastic measures.