Guide to Milan sales also in English

Bargains galore as gift season ends.

Italy’s fashion capital is again on a spending spree as the Christmas gift season fades from memory and winter fashions are still available at prices cut by as much as 50 per cent.

Retailers’ association Confcommercio estimated that six out of every 10 Italians will hunt for bargains in the traditional New Year saldi season, spending around €150 per shopper. Apart from the fun of seeking cut-price treasures in the stores, said the association’s report, many buyers will prefer not to face the freezing weather and instead cause a surge in internet sales.

Milan’s city hall has published a guide in English for those who want to shop till they drop, covering everything from where to find the bargains, where to relax from the strenuous chase, to how to travel in the city and where to spend the evenings.

The subject is seen as so important for the city’s image and reputation that the municipal police force starts photographing shop displays as early as November, in a move to catch those who advertise false “reductions” during the New Year sales period. There are hefty fines to discourage cheating.

Consumer association Altroconsumo warns against being too careless when the long-awaited sales start. Check that the prices really have been reduced, that the goods are not damaged, and always try clothing on in the shop, they counsel. Make a note of the shop’s rules for exchanging the goods, as exchange can be at the shopkeeper’s discretion. And since the thermal paper used in many shop tills can fade long before the guarantee period of two years has expired, they advise shoppers to make a photocopy at once to keep the scontrino safe.