Fashion sales in Italy down 42% in Q1 2021 – WWD
MILAN – More than a year after the coronavirus emergency that caused several lockdowns and related store closures, along with travel bans and changes in spending habits, Italian retail sales are not yet on track for a full recovery.
According to a study conducted by the consultancy firm Ernst & Young for Confimprese – the national association of retailers – local consumption fell by 38.3% in the first quarter of the year compared to 2020 and by 54.6% by compared to 2019, prepandemic levels.
In particular, the research offers analysis and statistics on the performance of retailers operating in the fashion and clothing industry, the food and beverage category and in the non-food sector, including cosmetics and l furnishings.
The fashion and clothing sector was among the hardest hit, as sales in the three months ended March 31 fell 42.1% from the same period last year. Compared to pre-pandemic levels, sales in March alone fell 68.3% from 2019, but improved 83.1% from 2020.
As of last month, the majority of regions and districts across the country were still under strict containment measures with non-essential stores closed. Although retail operations have resumed across the country, the Italian government said last week that a gradual return to normal – with restaurants and bars resuming operations, for example – would be set in motion in from April 26, although still dependent on risk factors and taking into account the spread of COVID-19 in different areas.
“With the gradual easing of restrictions, we expect a rapid return to consumption from May,” said Paolo Lobetti Bodoni, leader in business consulting at Ernst & Young. “Similar to August to September 2020, this would likely increase overall sales, resulting in a 10-20% drop. [in retail sales] compared to 2019 levels, ”he said.
In terms of distribution, Ernst & Young assessed the impact of lockdowns and travel bans in the first quarter, showing that overall retail sales during the period fell 55.5% at airports and train stations by compared to 2020. Sales in shopping malls and outlets decreased by 48.5 and 45.2%, respectively, in the first quarter.
“It is obvious that with such a drop in income, the situation of companies in the retail sector is hardly sustainable unless [the institutions] adopt urgent measures to support and revive the sectors and channels concerned ”, urged Mario Maiocchi, CEO of Confimprese.
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