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Confimprese, Italian retail chains show signs of recovery for 2021

Over 880 new openings are expected, of which just under 200 in catering

One year after the outbreak of the pandemic, the Confimprese retail study center traces the balance of the trend of commercial establishments, bent by the recession and the constraints imposed by the health emergency, and records the number of new openings and closings in the course of 2021. In the 2021, the associated companies plan to close 496 stores down by -3.8% vs 2020, but estimate 882 new business openings (+ 6.7% vs 2020), of which 320 direct and 562 franchises, which are confirms the distribution formula most appreciated by retail operators. Considering the forecasts relating to the number of outlets closing, a cautiously optimistic scenario emerges, in which the net balance of Italian outlets (882 openings vs 496 closures) is positive, equal to 386. A very high percentage of companies, equal to over 85% confirm the opening of new stores.

"The pandemic crisis has taken away 50% of the openings", says Mario Resca , president of Confimprese. "The restrictive measures adopted so far during the emergency mean 117 days of closure and have resulted in a decrease in turnover for each company in the order of -40% compared to 2019, with a consequent decrease in overall annual turnover equal to 55 , 64 billion and a proportional loss of tax revenue estimated at 11-12 billion euros. However, the good news is there and is confirmed by the arrival of 882 new stores, a sign that retail wants to restart and intercept the desire of Italians to return to normality.

In the analysis by product sector, clothing ranks first for new openings with a total of 238. Catering follows with an estimated 191 new premises. The home and furnishing accessories sector has good growth prospects, also due to the need imposed by a year of pandemic to work in smart working and the newfound desire to beautify domestic environments. The sector foresees 133 openings. In the health and wellness sector, 38 stores will open, there will be 37 new stores in consumer electronics, 33 in services, 29 in entertainment, other non-food stores (real estate and DIY) 183. In the clothing and accessories, home and accessories sectors furniture and real estate the franchising formula prevails, while direct sales points are opened in the restaurant business.

The pessimism over the next few months also remains high: 38.7% declare themselves more disheartened than a month ago while the prospect of a return to normalcy in the short term is increasingly moving away. Only 18.9% expect this to happen by the end of the year while for 6 out of 10 a life similar to the pre-pandemic one will take place no earlier than 2022. Since the start of the pandemic, the number of points frequentation has dropped significantly of physical sales: 1 in 3 never went to restaurants and made no purchases of durable goods while about 20% never made purchases of clothing or other non-durable goods in stores. The drop in consumption is partly mitigated by the use of online, especially for clothing and accessories, restaurants but also furniture and electronics.

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