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Retail in Italy: what's next?

by Mark Faithfull

As Italy’s regionally zoned approach to the Covid crisis looks set to see further easing of restrictions over the coming weeks, the Italian retail, F&B and leisure markets are also preparing to emerge from the latest restrictions. A country that has had plenty of experience of trading under strict regulations now hopes that lessons learned from previous shutdowns will help the country reignite its consumer market.

In this latest MAPIC Italy session - What’s New in Italy? Major retail trends - Mario Maiocchi, executive board member, Confimprese, Laura Galli, communications manager, Gruppo La Piadineria, and Armando Garosci, director of publishing innovation, Largo Consumo, discussed the outlook for the retail market in Italy.

Garosci pointed out that demographics are a major driver in Italy, with high life expectancy rates making the “silver economy” particularly important, while the country has a relatively smaller Millennial population compared with other European nations.

He explained that this and the Covid crisis have had an impact on the types and locations of stores, and are one of the reasons behind the expansion of smaller and specialised stores, while he warned that, because of Covid-19, savings are up, but consumption is still down. Italians are also focusing on the home for expenditure and socialising, he said.

Mario Maiocchi, executive board member, Confimprese, outlined the impact of the lockdowns on the Italian retail sector and how the markets and major players have responded over the past year, while Laura Galli, communications manager, Gruppo La Piadineria, discussed the new strategies implemented to help attract customers back to its F&B outlets.

Fast, casual food brand La Piadineria – which plans to open 50 more stores this year - describes itself as “Italy in a bite”, she said, as she discussed the need for customers to feel they are in a secure and safe environment while dining and looked at the rise of click and collect and self-checkout as part of creating this reassurance.

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