Retail

Italy's Small Retailers Start To Reopen As Lockdown Is Lifted

Italy's Small Retailers Start To Reopen

Following a period of lockdown in the nation, Italy’s collection of artisan companies and stationers have begun to reopen their doors. A cautious sense of hope, as well as some uneasiness, exists among business as they slowly return to "normal" commerce, CNBC reported.

The co-owner of a bookstore in Rome said, “I’m very happy to reopen the bookshop, even though it will be very difficult. (There are) no people around as the social distancing measures are having a great impact, especially in small places like ours. For sure, it won’t be as it was before COVID. Lockdown has been very tough.”

Restrictions on commerce and public life have been difficult on many small and medium-sized businesses in Italy. Many of them are owned by families and have been passed through the generations, and have survived rough economic patches. Owners know it could be a while before shopping habits rebound.

Italy SMBs make up approximately two-thirds – or 66.9 percent – of Italy's overall “non-financial business economy.” Those businesses also represent more than 78 percent of the country's employment, in comparison to the 66.6 percent average in the EU.

The nation’s economy is forecasted to shrink 9.1 percent this year, per the newest forecasts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In Germany, the government has started early experiments with reopening, coming out of an era of enforced social distancing to help contain the coronavirus. As the rules are lifting and physical retail is emerging from the deep freeze, consumers are still avoiding shopping for the most part.

The head of an IKEA branch on the outer edges of Cologne said, per past reports, “It was very relaxed, there were no lines, there were no crowds.”

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