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Italian credit card spending grows 1.5% before Christmas

Online purchases up 23.3%, digital merchandise soars 37%

23 December, 15:03
Italian credit card spending grows 1.5% before Christmas (ANSA) - Rome, December 23 - Italians are being frugal in the run-up to Christmas, with credit card purchases growing just 1.5% to 97 billion euros, the research centre of Italian credit card operations handler CartaSi revealed Monday. After leaving out expenses like school tuition, services and cash advances, purchases rose just 0.8% during the six weeks examined, from November 4 to December 15, the Osservatorio Acquisti CartaSi said.

Far fewer braved shopping crowds and queues, as online purchases rose 23.3%.

Charges for digital merchandise soared 37%, while clothing and food spending slumped 6.6% and 4.4% respectively. Household goods slipped 2.6%. Hotels and restaurants were down 3.1%. Trips and telecommunications were up by small single digits.

Italian consumers may be leaving Christmas-related spending to the very last minute, as they did in the depths of recession in late last year.

The week of December 23, 2012, saw purchases rise 12.5% over the same period in 2011, after languishing in the weeks prior.

In the first two weeks of December this year, purchases fell 0.2% compared to the same period in 2012, making the Christmas week again crucial to holiday sales.

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