24 April 2014 09:46

Sales revenue for small and medium-sized retailers was considerably lower over the Easter period compared to previous years.
Speaking to the media yesterday, general secretary of small shopkeepers' union Povek Stefanos Koursaris said the drop in turnover can be partly blamed on the government decree to extend hours for shops, which the union insists only serves to benefit the big retailers.  
"There has been a significant decrease in turnover compared with previous years. With the exception of essential household items and groceries the sale of clothes, appliances and toys by small and medium-sized businesses was much lower."   
According to Koursaris, the disappointing turnover is largely due to the impact of the financial crisis, however, other factors have also played a part.
"At present due to the extended working hours decree, the bulk of turnover is absorbed by five supermarket and shop chains. We do not consider this fair or healthy competition."
On Friday, Povek will be holding a meeting to discuss taking action against the extended hours order which it maintains is stifling the turnover of smaller businesses.
According to Koursaris, the owners of all small shops are also scheduled to drape black curtains on their windows on a date to be set in May in protest of the extension and the financial damage it is causing them.
"Povek is furious that the government measures to support small and medium-sized shops such as the planned 'business fund' are still just at the theory stage with no timeframe for when they will be implemented."
He added that if the Ministry of Labour does not retract the decree or submit an amendment proposal, then Povek will take further protest action.
The union has so far taken several legal steps to challenge it which have all proved unsuccessful.
Minister of Labour Zeta Emilianidou recently defended the extended working hours saying that since the decree was implemented in July last year, some 5,000 people have been hired to work in the retail sector.


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