Coronavirus: Italy lockdown forces retailers to close doors

Giuseppe Conte Italy store closures coronavirus
Italy's lockdown means many retailers have forcibly shut their doors
// Retailers in Italy face store closures due to lockdown prompted by coronavirus outbreak
// While the UK has not implemented such dramatic measures, the market remains precarious

Retailers in Italy have seen their stores shut as the coronavirus outbreak continues to affect the country’s trading.

Due to Italy’s lockdown measures put into action earlier this week to prevent the spread of the virus, retailers, boutiques, department stores and multi-brand establishments have been forced to close their doors.

“This is a challenge that puts a strain on the national health system but also our economy,” Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte said.


“In the choices that I have made up to now I have taken account of all interests. But I made a deal with my conscience, we will always put the health of Italians first.

“The country needs the responsibility of each of us, the responsibility of 60 million Italians who make small sacrifices every day for the duration of this emergency.”

The spread of Covid-19 in Italy has escalated in recent days, with its diagnosis count making it the worst affected country in Europe and the second worst globally, after China.

It has more than 12,000 confirmed cases and a death toll of 827.

Italy is also home to various luxury fashion houses, such as Prada, Versace, Gucci and Armani, while the northern city of Milan is known as one of the fashion capitals of the world.

The global luxury retail sector suffered as a result of stores closing from the coronavirus outbreak across China since the start of the year, and questions have been raised as to how it will impact retailers that trade in Italy – both local and international.

While the UK has not implemented such dramatic measures, the market remains precarious as Brits choose to stay home.

According to the latest Retail Traffic Index from Ipsos Retail Performance, compared to January’s figure, shopper numbers dropped by 23 per cent in what was the wettest February on record.

On a year-on-year basis, February’s average weekly footfall was down by 14.2 per cent.

“In addition to the rain, the arrival of the coronavirus has twisted the knife still further this month. For retail destinations most attractive to Asian tourists, footfall was hit hard,” Ipsos Retail Performance retail intelligence director Dr Tim Denison said.

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