Greek retailers had a good day on Sunday, the first Sunday shopping day before Christmas, according to the first estimates released by the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE). Based on performance during the first few days of the extended holiday opening hours, turnover in the retail sector was forecast to be the same or up to 2 pct higher than in 2016, ESEE said.

Turnover in December 2017 is forecast to be around 3.5 billion euros, the level seen in 2016, but significantly less than the 5.37 billion euros recorded in 2009. According to ESEE's Institute of Commerce and Services, the accumulated reduction in Christmas turnover over the seven-year period is 35.2 pct.

On an annual level, the figures for 2017 show a stabilisation and slight increase of retail turnover at 42 billion euros, up from 41.4 billion euros in 2016, up 1.5 pct.

Recent surveys, such as that by Deloitte, showed that the Greeks' average budget for Christmas shopping was 2 pct lower than the previous year, at 450 euros instead of 457 euros. The average for European consumers was 455 euros, up from 433 euros in 2016.

ESEE President Vasilis Korkidis said that retail turnover may be affected by a plethora of outstanding tax payments for Greeks, amounting to four billion euros, at the end of the year. These included the last installments of income tax, ENFIA property taxes, road taxes and others.