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Slow start to New Year sales

'A third of households set to buy, average spending 11-12% down'

02 January, 16:15
Slow start to New Year sales (ANSA) - Rome, January 2 - New Year sales in recession-hit Italy got off to a slow start Thursday with just three regions - Val d'Aosta in the far northwest and Campania and Basilicata in the south - offering traditional discounts ranging between 50% and 75%.

The other 17 regions will kick off their sales on Saturday.

The streets of Naples were not crowded with shoppers but trade was brisker in the Alpine resorts of Courmayeur and Cervinia. The Codacons consumer group said total spending would be 12.5% down on last year with only 35% of households having set aside some cash after eight straight quarters of negative GDP - Italy's longest postwar downturn - ended with zero growth in the third quarter of 2013.

Average spending would "not go over the 200-euro mark," Codacons said.

Another big consumers' group, Federconsumatori, said sales outlay would be 194 euros per household, an 11.3% drop on 2013, which saw a fall of 18.8%.