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Italian shoppers turning to discount stores, study finds

Italian consumers are spending more in discounters, with sales up 1.5% in the month of September, year-on-year, a new study has found.

According to data from the Italian farmers association Coldiretti, overall food retail sales dropped by 1.6% in the same period, with hypermarkets seeing sales fall by 1.8% and supermarkets (-1.5%) and small grocery stores (-1.1%) also seeing declines.

The increase in food sales in discount stores indicates that many Italian families are facing economic difficulties, Coldiretti suggests.

However, at the same time, increased discounter sales are also being supplemented by products sourced from alternative channels to traditional grocery, such as farmers markets, with 59% of Italians shopping in said markets at least once a month in the last year.

Separately, a study by IRI has found that the discounters registered a 3.8% growth in value sales between January and July 2018, compared to a 0.5% drop in the wider retail sector.

A mix of factors contributed to the positive performance of discounters, ranging from the reformulation of the product offering, a greater presence of brands, to the expansion of the product range and a wider use of promotional tools.

Overall, discount stores account for 12.8% of sales in value terms (up from 12.5% in July 2017), while hypermarkets and supermarkets hold 82.9% (down from 83.4%) and drugstores hold 4.3% (4.0%). (www.esmmagazine.com)

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