Bargain hunters besieged luxury shops in the historic centre of Rome when the summer sales opened on Saturday 2 July. Shoppers, many of them foreign tourists, were hunting for discounts of up to 50 per cent on quality items rather than the usual discounts on end-of-season clothing. Out-of-town shopping centres were also a favourite target during the first weekend of the sales.

According to research by Confcommercio, the confederation for businesses in the retail and service sectors, each family will spend an average of