Greek retail stores open on Sunday ahead of Easter holidays

ATINA (CIHAN)- Greek retail stores opened on Sunday for Easter holidays shopping with encouraging signs for revenues for recession-hit businesses, according to the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (ESEE).

Public poured into main shopping streets in central Athens and other major cities, peered window displays and made their shopping for Easter during an unusual for Greece Sunday with open stores.

“It was a good opportunity to shop for my godchildren and my nephews, since I work and I do not have much time to stroll around to the stores. It’s a relief for us who cannot find time during the week”, Maria Gatou, a 30-year old public sector employee, told Xinhua.
For decades, stores in Greece remained closed on Sundays, except for the two working Sundays before Christmas and New Year Eve holidays. The Sunday holiday was first established in Greece in 1908.

In November, the government introduced a pilot program to boost Greece’s flagging retail sector after six years of deep recession which has left some 100,000 stores closing down.

Now Greeks and foreign visitors are able to shop at stores seven Sundays during the year.
“Today we can see that the experiment worked. The consumers responded this time positively, they leave with shopping bags even though they haven’t received their holiday bonus yet”, Vassilis Korkidis, President of the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (ESEE) stated.
Workers unions, opposing to the program for open stores on Sunday, protested with a 24-hour strike and small rallies were held nationwide. On Ermou street in front of the parliament a small group of protesters scuffled briefly with police.
According to the Federation of Private Employees, the majority of the stores that opened on previous Sundays didn’t even manage to cover their basic operating costs. (CihanXinhua)