Czechs expected to spend record billions at Christmas
Packed parking lots, packed stores: that’s the situation in most Prague shopping malls these days in the final weeks before Christmas. According to reports, Czechs are spending more than ever: economists are predicting that this holiday season Czechs will plonk down record amounts, a rise in the billions.
“We see a record low unemployment rate and we also have seen fast growth of real wages and therefore people can afford to spend even more than last year. We expect that retail sales could increase between six to ten percent. This year we’ll certainly see record retail sales again.”
“Generally, we have seen records every single year: every year the number is higher and higher as the economy grows and Czechs can spend more. But next year it is possible that we won’t see the rise repeated, as the country’s economy slowly loses its pace. Also, the country will see public finance reforms, which means that we will be able to see a rise in prices. People will have to think more about their expenditures, so it’s possible that this time next year spending will be less.”
This year’s pre-Christmas rush is only expected to intensify. As many Czech retailers have noted, most consumers traditionally leave their lion’s share of holiday purchases to later in the month, in other words to the “last minute”. Jiri Skocdopole, a retailer at Prague’s Pasaz Rokoko off Wenceslas Square, says the final weekend before Christmas is traditionally the “best”:
More and more Czechs are also now buying over the internet, but economist Vladimir Pikora says that the percentage is marginal compared to brick-and-mortar stores selling in the Czech Republic:
“We can expect record-high sales on the internet as well but it will still be a small fraction of overall sales and will not have a large impact on the whole economy.”