Retailers rescued by last minute Christmas shopping

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Last minute shoppers saved Christmas for retailers who went from reporting another dismal holiday season, to seeing their turnover increase by 7-7.5% compared to last year.

Cypriots’ habit of leaving shopping for Christmas, the busiest time of the year, to the last minute has put 2021 ahead of 2020, and just behind 2019, according to the Cyprus Retailers Association (PASYLE).

In comments to Alpha TV on Monday, Marios Antoniou, the general secretary of PASYLE, said that when comparing sales to pre-coronavirus years, that 2021 is just 3-4% behind 2019.

“Since last Wednesday and up to Christmas Eve, last minute shoppers have been flooding supermarkets, grocery stores and bakeries,” said Antoniou.

PASYLE’s general secretary said that toy stores were particularly happy with people’s turnout, however, clothes and shoe shops cannot be happy with traffic in their shops.

“There is room for things to change, as shops will be launching sales campaigns following the festive season. A number of retailers have already launched their sales campaigns as of Monday,” said Antoniou.

He told CyBC radio’s Trito that the after-Christmas sales in the clothing and footwear sectors are somewhat of a tradition that Cypriot consumers look forward to and he hoped that they will be boosting the market even further.


Hospitality suffers

Meanwhile, hospitality venues are on the other side of the spectrum, having little to cheer about, as COVID restrictions saw people choosing to celebrate at home rather than going to a restaurant.

Business at leisure and recreation centres saw their turnover go down by 50% to 65% over the holiday weekend, the association of recreation establishments (OSIKA) said on Monday.

In comments to the Cyprus News Agency, Osika’s Paphos president Neophytos Thrasyvoulou said that, “measures taken to deal with the COIVID-19 pandemic affected our business throughout the island during the holidays with cancellations pouring in”.

Thrasyvoulou said there had been an increase in traffic in the mountain villages, however, few people sat to eat, preferring instead to order takeaways.

Hospitality owners oppose the government banning those without a COVID-19 jab from entering entertainment or sports venues, while expanding the requirement for a safe pass to children.

Owners of hospitality establishments say the government is again using their businesses as leverage to pressure the unvaccinated to push up inoculation rates.