There are no problems in the supply chain and no shortage in supermarket stocks are expected as a result of the war in Ukraine, executive secretary of the Pancyprian Supermarkets Association Andreas Hadjiadamou said on Monday.

At the same time, he said the proper functioning of competition in Cypriot supermarkets has so far managed to prevent large increases in the price of goods.

“There is no problem with stocks. The supply chain is operating normally,” he said, adding that the international food crisis, which concerns raw materials and cereals, is a different matter.

Asked about the price hikes observed for various products, Hadjiadamou said that while there are indeed price increases, the supermarket sector is the only one where competition operates smoothly.

This allows the consumer to still enjoy reasonable prices that are not as high as they should be, factoring in the increase in suppliers’ charges and other continuous increases that supermarkets have had to face in recent months, Hadjiadamou said, adding that, “if it were not for competition, the consumer would find double and triple the prices on supermarket shelves.”

Asked if supermarkets noticed differences in consumer habits, Hadjiadamou said that although there is a concern about the uncertainty that exists and the increases that are observed, at present habits have not changed much.

Spending habits had already changed in the years following the 2013 crisis, with consumers making more numerous visits “with a smaller basket”, he added. Since the crisis consumers have become more selective, browsing for bargains, and choosing the most inexpensive options.

Supermarkets are on the right track, Hadjiadamou said, having been completely modernised, with small stores being absorbed by larger chains.

“Retail is now much better structured, [retailers] have international collaborations, they have expertise, and they have nothing to envy from abroad,” he said.

Asked whether the economic conditions are expected to negatively affect the supermarket sector, he said after the closure of supermarkets and stores during the crisis of 2013, the situation is now normalised noting that the sector proved particularly resilient during the pandemic.

Although there is some concern, “the future is bright because the right professionals are left in the industry”.