The post-Christmas sales season begins in Rome and throughout Lazio from Saturday 5 January, lasting for six weeks, until 15 February.
It follows a further decline in consumer confidence over the 2012 Christmas period with sales down 20 per cent since 2008, according to retail confederation Confesercenti di Roma. The group identified the worst hit sectors as clothing, footwear, furniture and travel, while the toy, technology and food sectors held their own. It predicted that the average spend per household in the winter sales in Rome and across Lazio will be €300.
The prices on items for sale must be indicated clearly, with the original as well as the sales’ price. Discounts are only allowed on stock already in the shop before the sales, not on items bought in at a discount. The city of Rome has warned that, as usual, police will be checking to see that retailers adhere to these rules.
Most city centre shops are likely to be open on Sunday 6 January, the feast of the Epiphany (or La Befana as it is known in Rome), including the large shopping malls in the outskirts of the city.
Business owners are hoping that the sales will help to recuperate some of their lost trade after what was an annus horribilis according to 75 per cent of traders surveyed by Confesercenti di Roma.
The sales season started in the southern regions of Sicily, Campania and Basilicata on 2 January and in Valle d’Aosta in northern Italy on 3 January. Sales begin in the other Italian regions on 5 January but all end on different dates.