President of the Larnaca Chamber of Commerce (Evel) Stavros Stavrou on Friday attended the opening of the Metropolis Mall in Larnaca, where he delivered an address during the opening ceremony.

“This is a jewel of a project for the region, which has given it life, as well as a development that was essentially missing from our district,” Stavrou said.

“Its construction and operation bring multiple benefits to the local economy, significantly boosts employment, and has obviously contributed to the quality development of the surrounding area by improving the road network, enriching the green areas and landscaping,” he added.

Moreover, Stavrou said the creation of the mall helps to strengthen healthy competition in Larnaca’s retail trade sector.

He acknowledged that this may not go down well with some small and medium-sized businesses, who rightly report being affected by this new competition.

However, he noted that any decline in sales should also factor in other external factors, such as the crisis brought upon by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the war in Ukraine, with both having many adverse ramifications.

Stavrou said that many businesses are now facing a raft of challenges, and that this is not a local, but a global phenomenon.

In terms of Larnaca’s retail trade sector, Stavrou said that he believes that the increased competition will work in a positive way, benefitting consumers and facilitating the modernisation of other businesses in the district.

“All the agencies of Larnaca must work together for the successful coexistence of businesses, of all types and sizes, in our city and district,” Stavrou said.

“A healthy economy needs diversity and a well-balanced balance of small and large businesses, and only when it balances out will we be able to say that we succeeded,” he added.

In addition, the Evel president said that businesses must not rest on their laurels or stay at a standstill.

“We are in the era of globalization and rapid technological developments, so competition will always be there, and the customer, today more than ever, has increasing needs and demands, is instantly informed about price levels and expects modern methods of transactions and experiences,” he said.

“Therefore, if businesses do not take care to maintain their business competitiveness, adapt to the new situation, continuously improve and be flexible, then they will not be able to survive in today’s economic environment,” he added.

Furthermore, Stavrou said that the Metropolis Mall has raised the bar in terms of providing a service in the retail sector and has become a model for the upgrading of Larnaca’s infrastructure.

He also said that it is noteworthy that the business operated amidst the pandemic, proving the determination and dynamism of its owners.

“Such private sector investments, in conjunction with the supporting infrastructure, as well as other important development and projects planned by Larnaca’s local authorities, are what have put Larnaca on a growth trajectory, and will now firmly establish it as an important business centre, and a quality tourist destination, while offering a quality of life to its residents,” Stavrou said.

“The Larnaca Chamber of Commerce and Industry will be by your side, a supporter and helper in your efforts,” he concluded.