Lockdown Impact: 70k Italian Stores May Never Open Again, But Online Retailers Surge

Staff of a coffe-restaurant, brings coffees for customers, in Piazza della Rotonda at the Pantheon, in central Rome, on March 15, 2021, as three-quarters of Italians entered a strict lockdown as the government put in place restrictive measures to fight the rise of COVID-19 infections. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / …
ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images

The Italian business association Confesercenti has warned that as many as 70,000 shops across the county face closure due to the Wuhan coronavirus lockdown restrictions implemented by the government.

Despite the planned easing of restrictions on April 26th, the association has sounded the alarm over the potential closure of tens of thousands of stores this year due to a collapse of consumption and penalties for shopping centres.

Luciano Sbraga, director of the Italian Federation of Public Establishments (FIPE) in Rome, said his organisation was asking governments to allow restaurants to use parking spaces for additional tables and chairs, saying, “at this point, it is the only way to save companies”, Il Giornale reports.

Confcommercio, the Italian confederation for enterprises, professional activities, and self-employment, noted that “over 116,000 public establishments” would still remain in lockdown as they had no outdoor dining, which amounts to 46.6 per cent of the bars and restaurants in the country.

Marco Barbieri, secretary-general of Confcommercio in Milan, confirmed similar numbers in his city, saying “almost one in two premises does not have the opportunity to carry out business outdoors”.

While tens of thousands of businesses risk closure across Italy, online retailers saw massive gains in 2020, according to figures released by the database company Statista.

Italy’s branch of the online retail giant Amazon, amazon.it, is said to have seen revenue of $2.98 billion (£2.13bn) in 2019, which increased to $4.24 billion (£3.03bn) in 2020, a 42.3 per cent growth, and is expected to increase even further this year, according to projections.

The Italian-based website Esselunga A Casa, which primarily sells food, saw a 96 per cent increase in revenue in 2020, according to ecommerceDB statistics.

The fresh warnings from business associations come just months after restauranteurs in Milan warned that 60 per cent of the city’s restaurants could face closure due to lockdown measures.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com

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