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Incomes stuck at 1986 levels mean bleak Xmas, says group

Practical gifts including books, food, clothing top choices

27 November, 17:00
Incomes stuck at 1986 levels mean bleak Xmas, says group (ANSA) - Rome, November 27 - Christmas will be a bleak affair for many Italians who have seen their incomes stuck at 1986 levels, business organization Confcommercio said Wednesday.

"It will be yet another Christmas of austerity," predicted Carlo Sangalli, president of Confcommercio.

Data from the group's research centre show that the real income levels for many Italians remain stuck at the same level as achieved 27 years ago, due to tax burdens that can now absorb as much as 44% of salaries, he said. However, he added, families are continuing to celebrate the traditions and spirit of Christmas without lavish gift-giving. But central to any economic recovery next year is a recovery in consumer confidence and spending based on lower taxes, said Sangalli.

Italians who do choose to buy Christmas gifts this year will be focused on practical items such as food, clothing and books, which comprise about 87% of spending plans.

The remaining 13% of shopping planned will be for gifts involving technology, the group said.