Retail sales in March 2021 posted “substantial economic stagnation.” Istat registered a decrease of 0.1% in value compared to February and an increase of 0.1% in volume. In the first quarter as a whole, retail sales increased 0.2% in value and decreased 0.3% in volume compared to the previous quarter. Since March 2020, the first month of the closure, there has been “a very strong upward trend that reflects the particularly depressed levels” of that month, explains Istat, with sales increases of 22.9% in value and 23.5% in volume and record of almost all non-food products.
Regarding March 2020, non-food goods that registered a jump of 49.7% in value and 50.3% in volume while; Sales of food products also increased, although to a lesser extent (+ 3.7% in value and volume). Compared to February 2021, there is a growth for food goods (+ 1.9% in value and + 1.7% in volume) and a decrease for non-food products (-1.6% in value and -1, 1% by volume). Among non-food goods, in particular sales of games, toys, sports and camping entertainment + 110.7% per year and those of photo-optics and films, magnetic media, musical instruments + 109.2%. Footwear, leather and travel items (+ 94.2%), clothing and leather (+ 93.9%) also lead the ranking of increases, followed by furniture and household appliances. For pharmaceutical products there was less growth (+ 0.7%). Sales grew in all distribution channels: large distribution (+ 17.0%), companies that operate in small stores (+ 27.8%) and sales outside the stores (+ 43.8%). The e-commerce boom also continues (+ 39.9%).