Dixons sticks with rebounding Greece
LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) – Dixons, the continent’s No 2 electricals retailer, saw sales at its Greek business, Kotsovolos, rise 3 percent in the November 1 - January 4 period, driven by its wholesale business. However, sales at retail stores that have been open for more than a year fell 8 percent. “It’s still quite tough in Greece and the market is still under pressure. We are beginning to see some evidence that it is flattening out,” Chief Executive Sebastian James told reporters. “That business is going to come right.” As speculation swirled in 2012 that Greece could abandon the euro, Dixons stockpiled security shutters to protect its nearly 100 stores in the country. Recent data suggests the econ-
German carrier Air Berlin has announced it will increase its flights to Greece by 11 percent in 2014. Later this year it will start 21 flights per week to Kos and seven to Santorini, and add seven more flights a week to Iraklio and one more apiece to Hania, Kalamata, Lesvos, Samos and Zakynthos. omy is on the brink of recovering from a six-year recession, boosted by a rebound in tourism and rising investment and exports. However, Greek consumers’ incomes have shrunk about 40 percent since the crisis began and in Athens the mood remains gloomy. Many poured into the capital’s main shopping street at the start of the winter sales but few were buying, despite 50 percent discounts. “People come, look and leave. They have other priorities,” said Katerina Graspa, 53, who is struggling to keep her household goods shop in business. Dixons has sold off units in Turkey and Italy, but plans to stick with Greece as it is the market leader there, although the country accounts for a small part of group sales.
Kosovo has asked the International Monetary Fund for talks on a new precautionary program, but is unlikely to need to draw any funds, the Fund’s Kosovo mission chief said yesterday. A previous 30-month standby deal – Kosovo’s first since it declared independence from Serbia in 2008 – came to an end last month. It was worth 107 million euros. “We take the government request very seriously, we will give it the utmost consideration and we are thinking of a formal program negotiating mission in March,” Jacques Alain Miniane, the newly appointed IMF chief mission for Kosovo, told a news conference. “The government has signaled the intention for the program to be precautionary. At this stage there are no financing needs, no budgetary or external needs that the government or the state cannot fund on its own,” he said. Miniane did not say how much the new deal could be worth but a Kosovo official told Reuters it may be around 100 million euros.