Christmas thrift: Austrians cut festive spending due to inflation


Cold economic facts are permeating Austria’s Christmas spending with the country’s retailers reporting thrifty shoppers are skimping on gifts with sales down 15 per cent on last year.
The Austrian Retail Association says its members are being hit with a double whammy of rising costs and falling revenues. They say shopkeepers’ expenses for wholesale goods and bills are “exploding” while their customers also have reduced purchasing power.
“We certainly have a few difficult months ahead of us and now we simply have to optimise by reducing branches, and one third of retailers will reduce staff,” said Rainer Will, director of the Austrian Retail Association.
Charities and NGOs also warn the poorest families are hit hardest by financial hardship this Christmas.
“Single parents, primarily women, are particularly affected,” said Erich Fenninger, director of the NGO Volkshilfe. “Also those who have little income, including, of course, many migrants who often have the jobs with lower salaries.”
Elmira Kasymova, a mother of six originally from Ukraine, is being helped by Volkshilfe. She’s seen inflation double her household bills in recent months.
“Because everything has become expensive, I buy something small for my children, nothing big,” said Mrs Kasymova.