People shop in Hamra, Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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The capital's major shopping districts are filled with Christmas lights, trees and other sparkly decorations welcoming customers to do their end-of-year shopping. But to the dismay of many Lebanese merchants, the beautiful streets are largely empty of holiday shoppers that would typically be found this time of year, when many shops count on end-of-year shoppers to make up for slow business for the rest of the year. This is an economic war," said Antoine Wadih Salamoun, owner of the eponymous gold jewelry store at the Beirut Souks. He added business is down around 50 percent from the same time last year, which was already part of a string of around five bad years in a row. Cesar Ouzounian, who has run his business Ouzounian Jewelry Manufacturers since 2002, says that business is down by about 20 to 30 percent compared with last year.
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