Greece, struggling with more than 100 billion euros ($112 billion) of soured loans, faces another crisis in its supermarket industry. According to latest released figures from market research agency ICAP, the supermarkets in the country saw a 3 percent drop in the supermarket turnover in the company compared to the previous year. The grocery industry is expected to shrink further in the current year as well, the report says. Ironically Supermarket industry recored a 1.4 percent growth in 2014
ICAP figures states that the supermarkets in Greece won’t recover from the sales fall until 2017. It is estimated that every year a growth of one percent could be accomplished. The analysis also showed that five companies commanded 60 percent of all turnover in the sector last year. There were also reports regarding the sales decline in retail sector as well. During last November, reports were out that retail sales by volume fell 4.5 percent in the country. Statistics service ELSTAT estimated that the sales of fuels, lubricants, home appliances and supermarkets were affected during the period.
The third quarter of 2015 saw a decline by one percent in the Greek consumer spending. This was at a time when the country’s economy plummeted by 0.9 percent. Tax hikes and capital controls, imposed at the end of June to stem a flight of cash from banks by depositors unnerved by a stalemate in talks with international lenders, have weighed on the sector. The biggest fall in retail sales last year was recorded in July at 7.2 percent.
Greece is at loggerheads with creditors over a series of actions required for the completion of its bailout review. The steps are needed to pave the way for the next emergency aid disbursement from the euro area and for debt relief talks to begin. On distressed debt sales, the latest agreement provides for the protection of vulnerable households, but the scope of restrictions remains a subject of ongoing negotiation with officials representing the “quartet” of the European Central Bank, the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Stability Mechanism.