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Dawn queues, traffic jams as Black Friday debuts in Greece

AFP  |  Athens 

Long queues snaked outside department stores and roads were blocked near malls thousands of Greeks bucked falling wages and joblessness to join the country's first-ever Black Friday shopping craze.

In Athens, Thessaloniki and other major Greek cities, the queues formed before participating stores -- mostly tech and clothes chains -- opened at 11:30 IST.


It was soon clear that most of the shoppers were youngsters skipping school to take advantage of up to 80-percent reductions in the sales.

At a prominent department store, Xbox One home video game consoles priced at 199 euros (USD 210) sold out in less than two hours.

Despite large crowds, no major disturbances or fights occasionally seen at such promotions abroad were reported.

Greek retail groups have expressed scepticism about the promotion which further threatens to undermine struggling small business owners.

Nikolas Kougioumtsis, head of the Athens trade association, said Black Friday was "not a positive" day for many sellers.

"If Black Friday is instituted in Greece, there must be policies in support of small and middle businesses," he told left-wing Avgi daily.

After seven years of unbroken economic crisis, Greece still has a jobless rate of over 23 percent according to official data, with unions that the real number is higher still.

Greeks have also seen wages and pensions progressively slashed by up to 40 percent since the start of the crisis in 2010.

Associations representing shop staff have downright rejected the US-inspired purchase spree.

"These imported and aggressive sales strategies not only destroy healthy competition in the sector but also take advantage of consumers and staff," said the Oiye association of private sector employees.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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