Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Croatian Christmas Period Consumption Down 20% in Pandemic-Hit Year?

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 16th of December, 2020 - last year, Croatia's residents spent a record 15.3 billion kuna during the festive period, but the ongoing coronavirus crisis has left its mark on Croatian Christmas consumer habits.

Although there is no estimate for what has been an absolutely dire 2020 yet, the specialised consulting company in the field of the agri-food sector, Smarter, estimates that the total consumption of food and beverages will fall by up to 20 percent in December, marking a significant change in the typical Croatian Christmas shopping spirit.

According to the latest data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, retail consumption in Croatia fell by 7.3 percent back in September when compared to the same month last year, with a decline in retail trade in food, beverages and tobacco products.

At the same time, they estimate better sales and the higher consumption of local Croatian products due to their continued good supply and higher production, which has since been confirmed by the estimate of growth in the value of Croatian agricultural production this year by about one billion kuna, helped along by the support of retail chains.

Smarter added that Croatian Christmas consumption in regard to festivities will be more modest than in previous years (two years ago the calculation of the average ''festive basket'' stood at 2175.98 kuna), but the offer of Croatian products is better than it was before, and meat, fish, wine, fruit, vegetables and other food are being sold at special prices. Online sales also increased significantly (by 13.9 percent in the first half of 2020 according to the CBS).

"We're convinced that the awareness of the need for a turnaround in the sector of agriculture and food production will be further developed and that Croatia will finally get a strategy that will revitalise this production on a sound basis," concluded Smarter.

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Saturday, 30 November 2019

Croatians Expected to Spend 15.3 Billion Kuna over Coming Holidays

ZAGREB, November 30, 2019 - Croatian citizens are expected to spend 15.3 billion kuna over the coming holidays, 500 million kuna more than a year ago, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) said on Saturday.

The estimate refers to the period from December 1 to January 1. Retail is the main driver of the holiday consumption and it is estimated that it will generate about 14 billion kuna, Tomislava Ravlić of the HGK told a press conference.

The 15.3 billion kuna spending estimate is based on the tax reform and wage growth, another good tourist season, higher consumer optimism and record-high employment, she said.

For the past ten years, December has been the period of highest spending in a year, Ravlić said, adding that 8-10 billion kuna was spent during the "classic" months and up to 14 billion kuna during July and August in record tourist seasons.

The highest spending in December is recorded in the week before Christmas, she said.

Retail has been stable for the past five years and turnover has been recording growths since August 2014, with the exception of four months of decline and one of being stable, Ravlić said, adding that in the first nine months of this year trade was 3.7% higher than at the same time in 2018.

She also underscored changes in consumer habits. Previously, the majority of citizens worried about the cost of living, whereas now the majority (29%) prioritise health, 21% the cost of living and 20% the work-life balance.

"This tells us that the economy has stabilised and that consumer optimism has increased and that, despite problems, our citizens live better, i.e. that the standard is better," Ravlić said.

She also mentioned that in Europe 50% of the people who use the Internet also shop online, as against 27% in Croatia.

More economy news can be found in the Business section.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Krakow Nativity Scene Tradition Exhibition Opens in Zagreb

ZAGREB, December 2, 2018 - An exhibition of photos about the Krakow Nativity Scene tradition was staged in Zagreb's Zrinjevac Square on Saturday within the Advent programme in the Croatian capital city, the Polish embassy said in a press release.

The Nativity Scene tradition (or szopka in Polish) in Krakow has been recently added to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The Nativity Scene tradition in the second biggest Polish city "is a social practice originating from Christmas celebration customs, centred around constructing cribs. Born in the nineteenth century, the tradition is indissolubly connected to the City of Krakow and based on skills and knowledge passed down for generations. The szopka is a lightweight construction featuring the nativity scene surrounded by representations of houses and monuments of Krakow, all transformed by the individual maker," according to the description of this cultural heritage on the UNESCO website.

"Other scenes are also represented through figurines and artificial lighting, depicting historical, cultural and contemporary social events relating to life in the City of Krakow, Poland and the world."

Apart from the event in Zagreb, also one more exhibition on this subject matter will be staged at Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in the eastern city of Osijek in the period from 5 December to 7 January.

Zagreb and Krakow have had partnership arrangements since 1975.

For more on the relations between Croatia and Poland, click here.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Three Quarters of Employers to Pay Higher Christmas Bonuses

ZAGREB, November 27, 2018 - Nearly three quarters of Croatian employers will pay higher Christmas bonuses to their employees based on new rules on non-taxable receipts which are due to come into force on December 1, the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) said on its website on Tuesday.

Last week, the HUP gathered information from 200 companies regarding the increase in non-taxable receipts for bonuses, showing that 74 percent of employers would increase the bonus amount for this year.

Given that some of the companies had defined their financial plans for the current year last year, 26 percent of employers said they would not be able to pay higher bonuses than planned.

Such moves by the government are welcomed by the business community. Although this measure will not help reduce costs to any larger extent, most employers are ready to take this opportunity to reward their employees. That's why we want to encourage and support the government in all proposals that will lead to further alleviation of the burden on businesses, HUP director-general Davor Majetić said.

The proposed amendments to income tax rules, under which the maximum annual amount of non-taxable receipts for workers would be increased from 2,500 to 7,500 kuna (from 340 to 1,000 euro), have been under public consultation until today, and the amended rules are to take effect on December 1.

Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said that the amendments gave employers the opportunity to reward their employees with a Christmas bonus or a 13th wage.

For more on Croatian business news, click here.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Advent In Zadar 2018 Starts Early; See The Full Program

Nov. 20, 2018 — Advent in Zadar will begin on Nov. 24, as one of Dalmatia’s coastal gems is getting an early start on an emerging Croatian holiday tradition.

The City of Zadar’s official day will overlap with the start of Advent in Zadar, with local institution Klapa Intrade playing at 11:30 a.m. The festivities will carry on through the night, with Croatian pop staple Magazin performing in the evening.

The million-kuna event will last until New Year’s Day, with daily musical guests, outdoor space for dancing, drinking and eating, as well as holiday favorites such as “fritule” and cooked wine served from one of “Advent Houses” lining Petar Zoranić Square.

Every Friday through Sunday morning, Advent in Zadar will also feature children’s workshops and performances.

There will also be ice skating open to the public (at a cost, of course) at the Sports Center Višnjik, just outside of the old town. It costs 20 kunas an hour to ice skate, plus 10 kunas for rental skates.

The fourth-annual iteration of Zadar's Advent will have daily “themes”, ie: hometown heroes, a capela groups, etc. Every evening will end with a performance by one of a long list of many Croatian pop stars booked for the event.

For a full list of all the events scheduled, including workshops and performances, check the link here or on Advent in Zadar’s Facebook page.

You can follow all of TCN’s coverage of Zadar here.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Christmas Holiday Shopping Season Starts

If you have walked into at least one shopping centre in recent days, you won't have been able to miss the incredible crowds in stores. The shops are being decorated with Christmas seasonal decorations earlier than ever, but shopping for Christmas presents in mid-November is something new and unusual. The Christmas holiday shopping season has started, reports Večernji List on November 15, 2018.

Professor of psychology Ljubica Uvodić Vranić says that we should not focus on material gifts, but instead find other ways to show our love, such as hugs, walks, conversations and reconciliation. She remembers that holidays in the past used to be a matter for family and communion, while today they are synonymous with consumerism, with a competition “who will buy a bigger and better gift.”

“No wonder January is the saddest month since all the bills have to be paid then. People should not be burdened with material gifts, and especially not try to demonstrate their love by spending money. Instead, it is necessary to sort out your priorities so that your family would not suffer later due to the lack of money,” says Uvodić Vranić.

She adds that spending too much money in December and even in November is not logical since all bills will have to be paid eventually. There is no need to believe that giving presents will solve any problems. She says that advertising and the society are to blame. “Advertisements are mostly to blame, but also the way we influence each other. At work, at sports clubs, on the streets, among friends... there is always someone who starts talking about how he or she has bought an excellent gift and that starts to feel like pressure.”

She also discussed the problem of giving “large” gifts. She says that each year expectations for the next year increase, and that creates stress in the person who gives the present. This is precisely the worst consequence of the pressure, since many people feel the lack of money in January, which creates additional stress.

She explains that the greatest stress in life is felt due to the death of a close family member, followed by illness and losing a job. Losing a job is often accompanied by a lack of money, so it is not difficult to conclude that similar stress occurs after buying too expensive gifts, which creates a similar effect.

For more on the Christmas holiday season in Croatia, click here.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Iva Kordić).

Friday, 22 December 2017

My Family's Christmas Traditions, from California to Croatia

'Tis the season!

Friday, 15 December 2017

Croats to Spend Billions on Christmas Gifts

However, many will spend less than last year.

Monday, 11 December 2017

How to Handle Christmas in Croatia, with a Side Dish of French Salad

Death by sarma and French salad - a guide on how to survive Christmas in Croatia. 

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The Dalmatian Christmas Experience Through the Eyes of a Returning Dalmatian from Zagreb

Returning home to family and loved ones at Christmas is something that happens all over the world. But how is the experience for a longterm Dalmatian resident of Zagreb, heading down to the coast and islands to the place of their birth? We are delighted to welcome Karmela Hromin to TCN with her experiences and advice - all of which ring very true. 

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