Greek supermarket sales rise during coronavirus outbreak

Workers at several Greek supermarkets who daily face the COVID-19 danger but report to their jobs will be getting bonuses handed out from soaring sales as people hoarded and keep stocking up on food and other essentials.

Sales have jumped 615 million euros ($671.74 million) in March after people stampeded supermarkets in search of everything from anti-bacterial wipes to toilet paper that was selling out fast but being restocked almost as fast after panic buying.

With many having bought enough to last for weeks, there’s been a reduction in the numbers going to markets, which have limited how many people can come in under the country’s lockdown requirements and as others turned to online markets.

The owners of the AB Vasilopoulos chain said they would give their staff 3 million euros ($3.28 million) in bonuses after another major chain, Sklavenitis said it would pay employees an extra benefit and Masoutis, located mostly in northern Greece, said its workers would be paid 30 percent of annual sales in profit-sharing.

Updated statistics by IRI market researchers found from Jan. 1 – before COVID-19 fears set in – until March 22 that supermarket sales jumped 13.1 percent from the previous year, said Kathimerini after a decade of austerity when people cut way back.

Sales of products such as disinfectant wipes and rubbing alcohol rose more than 500 percent, while food supplements and plastic gloves sales went up 300 percent and more people bought deli meats.

The data showed increases in the sale of canned soup in a country where that had been shunned in favor of homemade, as well as more purchases of canned tuna and lemon juice with restaurants, bars and taverns closed except for take-out and delivery.


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