Businesses rocked by bulging energy bills

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Small businesses are walking a tightrope as they see no end to the hiking cost of raw materials and energy bills while their turnover is shrinking.

In comments to news site Stockwatch, the secretary of the kiosk owner’s association, Andreas Englezos, said the price increases of items have discouraged people from visiting kiosks, especially in tourist areas.

“Unfortunately, rising prices have drastically reduced the number of kiosk customers, who now prefer to shop at the supermarkets which remain open most of the day and on weekends,” said Englezou.

He noted that most of their traffic is at night, with customers buying cigarettes, mobile top-up cards and milk.

“The turnover at my kiosk has decreased in August by 21% compared to the same month last year.

“For the eight months of the year to date, the decrease is around 27% compared to the last year.

“At the same time, hiking energy costs has brought us to our knees.

“Last year, I paid €1,878 in the two months of June – July for consumption of 8,722 kWh, and the same period this year, my bill was €2,450 for 6,146 kWh,” said Englezos.

He added that rising operating costs had forced some kiosks to close, mainly in the coastal areas.

Englezos argued that the crisis-affected people living in coastal areas the most, seeing their income shrink significantly.

The increase has also hit Cake shops in the cost of raw materials and energy.

“People are afraid to even come into our shops,” said Nicos Antoniou, a Cyprus Confectionaries’ Association member.

“Our turnover has decreased by 70% compared to 2019.

“Besides hiking costs, confectionaries have also taken a blow from home delivery companies which have made deals with big companies, and consumers can now have anything they want to be delivered at their doorstep,” he said.

Englezos also cited increases to “flour which last year was €18 a 25kg bag and this year it is €24, sugar was at €16 a 25kg bag, and now it is €30, the price of oil has tripled, diaries have informed us of a 5-cent increase per litre on milk”.

“To top it off, we have been electrocuted by our electricity bills.

“Our new electricity bill has doubled to €4,500 from €2,200 compared to the previous one we received”.

According to the latest data from the national statistics office, the consumer price index rose to 8.9% in August, down from 10.9% in July, which was the highest inflation rate since August 1981.

For every €1,000 of income, consumer purchasing power has fallen to €911, a loss of €89.