Tuesday , March 21 2023
Home / News / Economy / One in Three Stores “Disappeared” from Downtown Athens

One in Three Stores “Disappeared” from Downtown Athens

It is raining ‘padlocks’ in the centre of Athens with one out of three shops to have disappeared from the map. According to a survey conducted by the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) factors like the economic downturn, the reduction of purchasing power, the high rents as well as the explosion of crime and illegal trade have force big companies to abandon the city centre.

According to the survey, conducted in last August, 31% of the commercial shops have been closed down. In another survey, conducted in March 2012, the rate was 29.6 percent.

The ESEE identified five reasons for the massive closure of shops in downtown Athens:

1. High rents

2. Reduction of purchasing power and the dramatic shrinking of household incomes.

3. Extinction of the middle class: The high concentration of closed shops in the traditional commercial marketplace of Athens, which was the timeless attraction of middle-class consumers, is indicative of the economic hardship faced by middle class. Moreover, most of the merchants themselves part of middle classes.

4. Profile change of shopping centers: The aggressive expansion of  catering businesses lead to restructurings and transformations that altered the nature of the commercial center. This change, though seemingly causes the concentration of candidate consumers near the mall, there is absolutely no indication that it stimulates consumers’ traffic. On the contrary and on long term, such developments take place without any  central planning and contributing to the rapid decline of the commercial centre.

5. Withdrawal of large enterprises: In the early 90s, the entrance of large companies and international chains to traditional commercial markets caused a radical change in the structure of the commercial centre with small businesses exposed to strong pressure. However it was managed that big and small enterprises could harmonically live together. Today, the withdrawal of these big enterprises from the commercial centre destabilizes the character of the shopping center, with negative consequences for the survival of smaller businesses.

The following reasons have also contributed to the increase in the number of closing businesses:

• Rise of delinquency and crime.
• Illegal trade.
• Frequent protest rallies in downtown Athens.
• Increase in operating costs of the businesses.
• Funding freezing from the banks.
• Tax and insurance charges.

The street with the highest closing rate is Stadiou with 42%, Emmanouil Benaki with 38%. In Panepistimiou 100 out of 288 stores have been closed down. In Patision street, that had once the biggest number of stores, is down with 28.7%. In noble and expensive Kolonaki district of Athens, one in four shops have closed. “The area suffered the smallest losses”, according to Imerisia newspaper.

Check Also

“Housing armageddon”: EU Parliament bans sale/renting of homes without energy upgrade

The European Parliament has passed a regulation that bans sale or renting of homes without …