WWD Digital Daily

With the Coronaviru­s Spiking in Italy, Domestic Consumptio­n Drops

- BY ALESSANDRA TURRA

In September, the sales across businesses in the country decreased 34.8 percent compared to last year.

MILAN — With the coronaviru­s spiking again across the country, consumer consumptio­n is falling once again following the summer holidays.

According to research conducted by Confimpres­e in collaborat­ion with

EY, September sales of fashion, beauty and interior design products, as well as those of restaurant­s, bars and cultural institutio­ns, dropped 11.9 percent compared to August and 34.8 percent compared to September 2019.

Restaurant­s and fashion stores were the commercial activities most dramatical­ly hit by the crisis with their turnovers down 37.8 and 35.3 percent compared to 2019, respective­ly. In September, purchases of fashion items decreased 7 percent compared to August, a month that benefited from the summer sales.

Revealing an increased interest toward household goods, sales of homeware and interior design objects registered less dramatic declines, with a 26.5 percent drop compared to 2019.

In September, while online sales were up 22.7 percent compared to last year, the business of malls and outlets was down 15.1 and 10.3 percent, respective­ly. Due to the high percentage of people working from home and the absence of internatio­nal tourists, sales of stores located on Italian cities’ high streets decreased 19.7 percent, while numbers show how the situation was less negative in smaller cities and in the suburbs of larger towns. There, in September, sales were down 9.8 percent compared to August and 31.3 percent compared to last year.

Across the most important Italian cities, Florence is the worst performing, posting a 35.1 percent decrease compared to last year. It is followed by Milan, Bologna, Venice and Rome.

These negative data are deeply connected with the dramatic drop in tourism across the country, where last month the travel sector was down 62 percent compared to the same period last year.

“It’s really hard to make forecasts now. The first data related to the month of October register a significan­t slowdown of both arrivals from foreign countries and revenues,” said Mario Maiocchi, director of Confimpres­e’s center for retail studies. “The further evolution of the pandemic suggests a worsening of the situation for the last and most important quarter of the year. With the travel business registerin­g a 55 percent decrease, the main railway station and airport operators have to support the cry for help from retailers.”

Business is expected to be further hit in several Italian regions going forward, starting with the Lombardy region, badly impacted by the second wave of the

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Ponte di Rialto.
Venice’s Ponte di Rialto.

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