Christmas cheer for larger stores boost real estate prospects in central Athens


Christmas sales for retailers in Athens fell this year though shoppers showed a a preference for larger stores, boosting the prospects of real estate markets such as Ermou street, in the city center.

Data published from a survey conducted by the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE), showed that Christmas sales fell 12 percent from the same period last year with austerity measures such as higher taxes sapping the buying power of households.

“One can say that the winners from the Christmas season (in Athens) were the large players of the market and department stores, since most small to medium sized retailers saw turnover drop in comparison with the previous period,” said Vasilis Korkidis, president of ESEE in a statement.

On a geographical basis, the results were mixed. The broader consensus among retailers in central Athens, Paleo Faliro and Nea Smirni was that sales were unchanged from last Christmas. Shops in Glyfada, Aghia Paraskevi and Peristeri reported a spike in revenues while stores in Kallithea and Piraeus ranked among the losers for the season.

The figures confirm a broader trend, showing a shift in spending from smaller retailers to larger shops and department stores, often located in shopping malls or the city center.

This, along with a boost in investor interest for the development of hotels in the city center, has lifted property prices in the heart of Athens. Investors report strong bidding for prime assets in central Athens, in parts such as Ermou street and the affluent Kolonaki area.

The latest figures from Cushman and Wakefield show that Ermou street is the 15th most expensive main shopping street in the world, climbing four places from last year.

In its Main Streets Across the World report for 2018, Cushman and Wakefield said that renting retail space on the street, which leads to Syntagma square, costs 3,000 euros per square metre. Ermou street is more expensive than renting in other main street shopping districts in Amsterdam, Singapore and Prague.

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