Kiosk and convenience store owners faced with serious financial problems claim they are closing down one after the other since the implementation of longer shop opening hours across Cyprus in July.
Speaking to The Cyprus Daily on the sidelines of a general assembly of their association’s 180 members, president Andreas Theodoulou said:
“Of the 1,300 kiosks and convenience stores that were in business around Cyprus last year only 1,100 have remained open this year and kiosks and convenience stores are closing down all the time.
“The implementation of the longer shop opening hours across Cyprus has taken away the privilege of longer hours for kiosk and convenience stores and their businesses are now on the respirator,” he added.
The kiosk and convenience stores owners are satisfied with the readiness of Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou to listen to their problems who they say has her “door always open for them” and hope she will find a solution to their problems shortly.
“We need something back to make up for the blow of losing the privilege of longer opening. We used to operate long hours with a limited selection of goods but now this is not possible,” Theodoulou said.
“We are constantly demanding the exclusivity of selling certain products like tobacco items as it is the standard practice in other countries and hope this will soon become possible,” he added.
With a decree-that was renewed-Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou gave shop owners the option to open for longer hours across Cyprus including non-designated tourist areas.
A second decree expired at the end of November and the traditional Christmas shop opening hours are in force with shops open from 8am until 8pm seven days a week.
Large supermarkets and bakeries agreed for supermarkets not to sell bread, except slice, on Sundays while the decree for shop opening hours was in force.
“But this was only a temporary measure which is not valid now with the Christmas shop opening hours,” Andreas Mylonas of the Labour Ministry told The Cyprus Daily.
Emilianidou recently said she plans to engage in a social dialogue after the festive season to explore the possibility of longer shop opening hours becoming law.
The longer shop opening hours face opposition from small shopkeepers’ federation (Povek) who argue they are detrimental for small and medium shops and merely benefit major retailers.
However, consumers seem to support longer trading hours while the government says hundreds of jobs have been created.