As Black Friday beckons later this month, Cyprus retailers hope COVID will remain under control during the busy holiday season.
In comments to Phileleftheros daily, the general secretary of the Cyprus Retailers Association, Marios Antoniou, said the Christmas period and especially the first 20 days of December would be decisive for the year’s turnover.
Black Friday, falling on 27 November this year, is important as it marks the beginning of the busy shopping period leading up to Christmas and the New Year.
“December is the most important month for retailers, as it is a make-or-break point for most businesses.
“It is the month of double turnover, due to people receiving their 13th salary and other bonuses. Those weeks could determine the outcome of the whole year for some businesses”.
“The general secretary of the retail trade association said retailers and consumers are eagerly awaiting Black Friday“, as last year, the market was numb due to lockdown measures in Limassol and Paphos.
Prices increases on essential goods and fuel is an additional burden on Cypriot household incomes.
“This raises concerns amongst small and medium enterprises as people are losing part of their purchasing power.”
However, retailers are more concerned over whether stocks ordered will be arriving in time for Black Friday and the holiday season.
Antoniou said due to reduced production, there is a problem in the quantities imported, especially of electronic devices such as televisions, tablets, electronic games, and other gadgets.
“Companies are preparing their advertising campaigns although there is uncertainty whether they will receive the quantities they have ordered in time, due to the turmoil caused by the explosive mix of increases in energy, raw materials and transport costs”.
Black Friday is mostly a sales day dedicated to electronic gadgets and devices; however, all retailers run sales campaigns.
Antoniou believes everything will eventually fall into place, and retailers will have their stores fully stocked before 27 November.
He said Black Friday would essentially be a crash test for retailers and their readiness to deal with the holiday season.
Meanwhile, employers have expressed their concerns over a labour shortage, causing different problems for retailers.
Lena Panayiotou, head of OEB’s Industrial Relations & Social Policy Department, said retailers are concerned over whether they will have enough staff to cover the hours needed to cater to demand over the festive season.
Black Friday, a tradition started in the USA which sees stores selling their products at very low prices, has caught on in Cyprus in recent years as more businesses look to increase pre-Christmas sales.
It is the day after Thanksgiving in the US on the fourth Thursday of November, marking the start of the Christmas shopping season.