Greek commerce showed signs of recovery in 2017, ESEE report said

“The Greek economy can turn a page in 2018. But for this to happen some must lend their support and these are the small- and medium-sized enterprises and commerce. We showed resilience during the crisis, we have huge experience and determination, we are capable and we want to improve conditions. We are optimistic and determined that we can make it,” Vasilis Korkidis, president of the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE) said on Wednesday.

Presenting ESEE’s annual report, Korkidis said the data showed clear evidence of a recovery in demand for Greek retail commerce, with the turnover of all companies in the sector rising 8.7 pct in 2017 and employment rising by 33,000 new job positions in the year.

However, the report recorded a rise in debt to tax authorities (up to 31 pct in the first half of 2017 from 29 pct in the same period in 2016) while arrears to pension funds remained unchanged at 30 pct.

The report showed that most enterprises used their own money to fund their operations (87.7 pct), or the owners’ personal money (52.9 pct), confirming a weakness in accessing bank loans. One third of retail commerce enterprises were unable to pay their debts in the first half of 2017, down from one-in-two in the same period in 2016, as banks agreed to loan settlements.

Average turnover was 150,000 euros in 2017 from 130,000 euros in 2016, with Asian products (raw materials or final products) strengthening their position in the Greek market at the expense of Greek products. The report showed that five out of 100 enterprises closing down their operations, continued operating either in other region or with a new activity.