Consumers across Cyprus are “waiting until the last minute” to do their Easter shopping, supermarkets’ association chairman Andreas Hadjiadamou said on Thursday.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), he said, “little by little, people started coming to their supermarkets, like every Easter. As usual, it will peak today, with more tomorrow and Saturday.

“It always happens like this. It is typical of Cypriots to wait until the last minute during Easter.”

He added that Cypriot consumers “do not miss anything” when making purchases for Easter, no matter the economic conditions of the day.

“This has been seen throughout time,” he said.

Asked how footfall at supermarkets compares to previous years, he said it is still “too early to tell”, but that “we think with the experience we have that footfall will be at least on a par with last year.”

“It seems that every year we are at least reaching the same level as the previous year, while many times, it is even better,” he added.

He then turned his attention to pricing, saying that while the prices of some products have notably increased, others have decreased.

“We would like to emphasise that we must be careful regarding price increases, not to go ahead with thoughtless and unjustifiable increases. From our side, we do everything we can to always have reasonable and fair prices,” he said.

He added, “we absorb price increases to a large extent. We put a lot of pressure on suppliers and the supply chain when we see there are constant and unjustified increases.”

Hadjiadamou’s comments on price increases come after the consumer protection service released a report on “significant price increases” for essential Easter items. Among those increases is the price of olive oil, which has increased by 105.9 per cent since last Easter.

Those increases have caused small shopkeepers’ association (Povek) secretary-general Stefanos Koursaris to be less optimistic than Hadjiadamou regarding the coming Easter period.

While he said there is “movement” in small shops of people buying things, it “certainly does not remind us of old times”.

“People’s mentality has changed. It is not customary now for people to wait for Easter to buy something new for themselves or for their children,” he said.

He added that many people are in a state of “financial distress”, caused by increases in the prices of fuel and electricity as well as general high prices and inflation.

For this reason, he said, people “are making sure that they are not deprived of the necessities of life”.

“They will sacrifice a large part of their monthly salaries to buy necessities for Easter, as is customary every year. As for the rest of their consumption habits, it is clear that these are not the old days,” he said.