Retail Employees’ Day in Kazakhstan Date in the current year: July 28, 2024

Retail Employees’ Day in Kazakhstan Retail Employees’ Day, also known as Retail Workers’ Day or Trade Workers’ Day, is a professional holiday celebrated in many former Soviet republics, albeit on different dates. In Kazakhstan, for example, retail employees are congratulated on their professional holiday on the fourth Sunday of July.

The history of the holiday goes back to Soviet times: in the Soviet Union, Retail Employees’ Day was inaugurated in 1966. It was celebrated on the fourth Sunday of July. There also was a professional holiday named the Day of Housing and Utilities Sector and Consumer Service Employees. In 1988, these two holidays were merged into the Day of Retail, Housing and Utilities Sector and Consumer Service Employees, celebrated on the third Sunday of March.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, some former Soviet states continued to celebrate the “merged” holiday, while some opted to make Retail Employees’ Day a standalone holiday again. The first of the latter was Ukraine, where Retail Employees’ Day has been celebrated on the last Sunday of July since 1995. In 1998, Belarus followed suit. Finally, Russian Retail Employees’ Day was established in 2013; it is celebrated on the fourth Saturday of July.

The government of Kazakhstan officially established Retail Employees’ Day in October 2017, opting to celebrate it on the original date, i.e. the fourth Sunday of July. This is the professional holiday of all Kazakhstanis engaged in trade, specifically retail trade, from cashiers and sales consultants to retail chain owners.

Trade is one of the most important sectors of any country’s national economy; flourishing trade is usually viewed as a sign of a country’s economic health. According to statistics, trade accounts for 11–12% of Kazakhstan’s GDP, and about 15% of the country’s working population are employed in the trade sector. As of 2016, groceries accounted for 32.5% of the total retail trade in Kazakhstan, and non-food items accounted for the remaining 67.5%.

Interestingly enough, individual enterprises account for 40% of the enterprises in Kazakhstan’s retail sector, therefore, the development of trade in Kazakhstan has a positive effect on the country’s small and medium-sized businesses. For comparison, in Russia individual enterprises account for 27% of retail turnover, while the share of large enterprises is 48%. Retail trade also plays an important social role since it provides jobs for women and youth.

Retail Employees’ Day in Kazakhstan is celebrated not only to thank retail employees for their hard work, but also to raise awareness of the challenges in the retail sector. For example, in 2020–2021, the main challenge was a significant decrease in retail turnover, as well as a decrease in the share of individual entrepreneurs in the retail sector, caused by the economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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