Market needs clicks to survive

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The market is putting great pressure on the government to allow stores to reopen from next week, by utilizing either the click-and-collect or the click-in-shop model, with the Athens Traders Association hosting a press conference on Wednesday to illustrate the low impact these models would have on the spread of the coronavirus.

It was mentioned that there are two key conditions for that: the strict application of the state’s rules and self-protection measures, and the installation of air cleaning and sanitization appliances. That was the upshot of the views that medical experts contributed during Wednesday’s press conference.

Association president Stavros Kafounis warned that unless stores resume their activity in some way and there are no additional support measures for the sector, including haircuts on shopkeepers’ obligations, half of the enterprises in retail commerce will close for good.

According to Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) figures, in the period from April to September 2020 retail turnover dropped by 3.08 billion euros year-on-year, with just four out of the 43 subsectors posting a growth trend. State coffers have also missed out on takings, as Kafounis stated that the lost value-added tax revenues in those six months are seen at about €600 million.

The estimates presented on Wednesday by environmental engineering professor Dimosthenis Sarigiannis showed that the click-and-collect model, which was introduced in the second half of December, increased the spread of the coronavirus by 4%. He added that this model reduces personal contact by 55% compared to the normal operation of stores, while the click-in-shop model (i.e. shopping inside stores by appointment) reduces personal contact by 40% but increases it by 25% from the click-and-collect system. That means click-in-shop would entail a 5% increase in the expansion of coronavirus contagion.

“If we are supposed to take one step at a time, that had better concern retail commerce. That should have been the case from this week,” said the head of the Panhellenic Medical Association, Athanasios Exadaktylos.

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