Retail sales fell in April in Italy, the leap over the year was distorted by the pandemic

In Italy, in April, the estimates on retail sales show a decline of 0.4% in value and 0.5% in volume over the month, while on an annual basis the figure jumped to 30.4% in value and 31.5 % by volume. These are the latest Istat estimates which underline that the very strong trend increase, which is observed for almost all the aggregates, is the result of the comparison with sales in April of last year, a month characterized by closures due to the health emergency.

In detail, on a cyclical basis, sales of food goods increased by 1% in value and volume, while those of non-food goods decreased by 1.5% in value and 1.7% in volume. In trend terms it is the sales of non-food goods that determine the increase with a strong increase in both value and volume (respectively + 83.0% and + 83.1%), the sales of food goods recorded a limited growth ( + 0.6% in value and + 1.2% in volume). Compared to February 2020 e-commerce marks a real boom, with a growth of 36.1%.

While Confcommercio stresses that the impact of the pandemic still weighs on sales figures, consumers say they are disappointed and call the April data depressing and disheartening, worrying about the absence of a rise on March 2021. “The annual recovery”, underlines the ‘National Consumers Union, “is just an optical illusion, given that in April 2020 there was an annual drop in sales of 26.3% or 26.8% considering the indexes updated to date. Getting better than the worst cannot console us. ”

Furthermore, according to a study by the UNC, sales in April not only drop by 0.4% on March 2021, but are lower both in comparison with those of February 2020 (last month pre-lockdown with a gap of 3.5%). %) compared to January 2020 (last pre-pandemic month with a gap of 2.3%). Even for Codacons, the trend in retail sales is “extremely disappointing” and clearly attests that household consumption in 2021 does not restart. Assoutenti agrees, underlining that the situation reflects “the economic difficulties faced by millions of Italian families impoverished by the health emergency and the curtailment of incomes, and demonstrates how the support provided so far has proved insufficient, to the point that today 60% nuclei report difficulties in reaching the end of the month, with direct effects on sales and consumption “.

On the other hand, the latest figures on Lombard consumption are encouraging. In fact, according to the data collected by the Stocard observatory, which compared the shopping trends in the region in the retail markets in the period between 12 April and 23 May compared to the previous month, there is an increase in purchases in various product sectors, such as furniture (+ 181% compared to previous months), fashion (+106), sport (+ 35%), beauty (+ 32%) and books (+ 21%). According to the research, citizens have also increased the frequency with which they go to large-scale retail stores. On average, in the analyzed period, a consumer went shopping 6 times a month, a trend that is close to the average recorded in the pre-covid period, between January and February 2020, when there were about 7 monthly shopping opportunities. During the lockdown period (March-April 2020), the frequency had risen to just 4 times a month, a drop of -24%, with 25% of consumers only going to shop once a month. (All rights reserved)

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