Retailers at Cyprus malls are delighted as visits and turnovers are almost 20% higher than those recorded in pre-coronavirus 2019, following more than two years of restrictions.
In comments to news site Stockwatch, the general manager of the Nicosia Mall, George Georgiou, said the lifting of COVID restrictions and sales campaigns have boosted sales, pushing revenues past 2019.
Georgiou said retailer revenues at the Nicosia Mall have increased by 18.5% in the first seven months of the year compared to the same period in 2019.
He explained that despite the year kicking off to a poor start, with “the first three months being difficult, business increased from April onwards, to really take off in July”.
Georgiou said that only hospitality venues seem to be struggling to recover, as they are still affected by COVID restriction measures.
According to Georgiou, malls have become integral to people’s lives, offering a complete shopping and entertainment experience.
“Except for Anexartisias Avenue in Limassol, malls are the only locations where consumers can find everything they need lined up in one area”.
He added that retailers expect more gains in August, as most Cypriots are on holiday, with malls being their best option for entertainment and shopping in a cool and pleasant environment.
Retailers at Larnaca’s Metropolis Mall are also pleased with traffic following sales campaigns in July.
Marilena Palazi, the Metropolis Mall communication advisor, said: “Stores have sold most of their stock, with only a few pieces remaining on their shelves.
“Some stores have already started to display their winter merchandise and school items.
“The summer months will be very good for Metropolis Mall, which is suitable for the whole family because it offers shopping and entertainment in a cool, modern environment.
“The Larnaca mall is also visited by many tourists staying in the city’s hotels and even in the district of Famagusta”.
While mall retailers are rejoicing over their increased turnovers, high street retailers are disappointed to see traffic drop in favour of malls.
Stephanos Koursaris, the general secretary of the small shopkeepers’ association POVEK, said the operation of the Larnaca mall had led some shops in the once busy commercial centre to close.
Koursaris added that shopkeepers in the tourist areas of Protaras and Ayia Napa are also under threat as the loss of tourists from Russia and Ukraine has cost them dearly.
He said summer sales are no longer the attraction they used to be, as larger retailers have ongoing sale campaigns regardless of the season.
“There’s no point in running seasonal sales anymore.
“The absence of a legal framework regulating sale seasons, and authorities not carrying out checks, has ruined it.
He argued that frequent sales campaigns are neither in favour of “proper” businesses nor the consumers, as they will not be sure of whether they are buying goods at a discounted price or not.
“On the other hand, skyrocketing electricity prices and rents are dealing the final blow to small businesses closing one after the other.”