Milan shoppers wait for sales

As shopkeepers in Milan report disappointing Christmas sales, the dates for winter sales – which vary from region to region – have been announced: in Lombardy, they will be from Sunday 5 January for two months.

Local papers are reporting spending down by as much as 20 per cent in the suburbs, and by 5 per cent in shops on Milan’s central boulevard Corso Buenos Aires.

The Buenos Aires traders’ association is monitoring sales of toys at around €40-50, for clothing €60-70, and a peak for handbags at around €100. Only the top luxury fashion zone around Via Montenapoleone seems to be holding up this year. But even there, complained the local traders’ association, customers are spending less than a thousand euros a time on Christmas presents.

The general economic crisis, plus the simultaneous deadlines for two major taxes – IMU and TARES – in the week before Christmas, have left shopkeepers glum, reports La Repubblica’s Milan edition. So much so that many shops have been offering “disguised sales” with posters announcing “special offers”. The critical period, they say, will be the coming weekend and up to Christmas Eve.

Meanwhile, consumers’ 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 damages, 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.