Italy Retail Sales Fall 0.2% On Lower Non-Food Demand

Italian retail sales decreased slightly at the end of the year after recovering in the previous month, driven by a fall in non-food goods, data from the statistical office ISTAT showed on Wednesday.

The value of retail sales dropped 0.2 percent month-on-month in December, reversing a 0.8 percent rebound in November. Economists had forecast a 0.8 percent fall.

Sales of non-food goods fell 0.4 percent monthly in December, while sales of food products showed an increase of 0.1 percent versus a 0.9 percent gain in November.

Elevated inflationary pressures squeezed the budgets of households at the end of the year, and thus resulted in lower spending.

Recent data showed that consumer price inflation still remained at a double-digit figure of 10.1 percent in January, despite easing from December’s 11.6 percent.

On a yearly basis, the value of retail sales climbed at a slower pace of 3.4 percent in December, following a 4.4 percent increase a month ago. Sales have been rising since March 2021.

The overall annual growth was mainly attributed to a 5.8 percent rise in sales of food products.

Online sales were only 0.3 percent higher in December compared to last year, much slower than the 4.3 percent rise in November.

Data also showed that the volume of retail sales contracted 0.7 percent monthly and by 4.4 percent yearly at the end of the year.

Overall retail sales value increased by 4.6 percent in 2022 compared to 2021. Meanwhile, sales volume fell 0.8 percent due to a 4.2 percent drop in food goods, which was not offset by a 1.9 percent increase in non-food products, the agency said.

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