Some market sectors improved profits with ‘click-away’ system, chamber president says

The personal pick up of e-orders retailers (“click-away”) helped certain sectors recover from losses of the year due to the coronavirus restrictions, leading trade chamber representative Vassilis Korkidis said on Friday.

Korkidis is president of the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EVEP) and of the Regional Chamber Council of Attica and was speaking of the introduction of “click away”, which allowed shoppers to pick up e-orders at retailers instead of waiting for courier delivery.

Among stores benefitting from the system – which is suspended during this week’s stricter measures -, retailers such as toy and game stores recovered 50 percent of their turnover compared to the same period in 2020; bookstores achieved slightly higher sales than those of previous months; and digital technology or home appliance stores recovered 30-40 pct of profits compared to the same time in 2020.

Overall in the holiday period, regardless of method of sales, Korkidis said that the great winners in profits were foodstuffs at supermarkets (up 5 pct), pharmaceuticals (up 4 pct), computers (up 10 pct), and logistics, with courier companies increasing their work cycle by at least 15 pct.

On the other hand, the five sectors that suffered great losses this holiday season compared to the previous year’s were retailers selling watches and jewellery (down 48 pct), beauty products (down 37 pct), clothing and shoes (down 30 pct and 29 pct, respectively) and the retailers of music and video recordings (down 30 pct).

He clarified that in the food sector, rising sales were not registered in all food, drink and tobacco retailers: bakeries and confectioners saw a drop in their sales of nearly 17 pct, which he said means that local bakeries in neighborhoods lost 70 million euros worth of sales. Fish mongers made 10 pct less, and tobacco stores lost 11 pct, while liquor stores lost nearly 20 pct.

Worse off was trade in trextile-related products, which lost nearly 29 pct, while sales of motor fuel also dropped by 20 pct compared to the same time last year.

Korkidis called for the reintroduction of in-store shopping even under restrictions in certain stores (e.g. shoe retailers), and for the pickup of e-orders, which gave retailers some hope. It is “a time of critical decision-making,” he said, and the government must help avert a surge of bankruptcies and unemployment in the spring.