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Greek stores open on Sunday amid tensions

Stores in Greece opened on Sunday between 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It also marks the beginning of autumn sales that will last for 10 days. The Athens Traders Associations called on consumers to profit from the sales.

But the Federation of Private Employees opposed the Sunday opening and called for a 24-hour strike, as well as a demonstration in Athens’ main shopping street.

However, most stores in central Athens, did not follow the call for strike and decided to open. Athenians showed a growing appetite for shopping on Sunday.

Petros Karypidis, a high school student, said the store opening is helpful.

SOUNDBITE(GREEK): PETROS KARYPIDIS, High School Student
“I find the measure helpful because I am in high school and I have no time to go shopping during the week. Also, during Saturday, I have to attend cram school.”

He wished for more “Open Store Sunday” during sales.

Chrysanthi Pantazi, who works at a women’s clothing store, said the Sunday shopping is good for the market.

SOUNDBITE(GREEK): CHRYSANTHI PANTAZI, Clothing Store Staff
“If it’s only for some Sundays, then it’s good for the market and the shops but not for every Sunday because in that case consumers will not show up during the week. Now, people go out, stroll, if they want something they will shop, they like this.”

But Thanos Vassilopoulos, general secretary of the Federation of Private Employees, said the federation is against Sunday opening for two reasons.

SOUNDBITE(GREEK): THANOS VASSILOPOULOS, Federation of Private Employees
“First, the measure has already been tested and did not bring the desired results. On the contrary, there was a drop in turnover, rise of expenses and it did not create any new jobs.”

The “Open Store Sunday” measure is part of Greece’s bailout terms. The creditors want to ease restrictions on retail sales and promotional events.

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