Italy's retail sales fell both in value and in volume in February from the month before, statistics institute ISTAT said on Wednesday, as families cut down on food purchases.
The value of sales dropped by 0.1% in February following a 1.7% monthly rise in January, while volume was down 0.9%, data showed.
Food Sales Fall
Driving the overall slowdown, food sales fell in February by 0.3% in value and 1.8% in volume from the previous month.
"The monthly decline of February was, for the first time in five months, extended also to the value of food sales," ISTAT said in a note.
In unadjusted year-on-year terms, retail sales rose 5.8% in value in February, maintaining the recent trend of increasing value and decreasing volume from the year earlier, ISTAT added.
In volume terms sales were down 3.5%.
"Families keep spending more and more to buy less and less, and a clear example of this comes from food sales," said Carlo Rienzi, president of consumer rights' body Codacons.
Consumer prices increased by 9.8% in February from the year earlier, based on Italy's EU-harmonised index (HICP).
Oh the 27 March, it was reported that Italian rice output is set to fall in 2023 as farmers facing a second year of drought reduced the land dedicated to the crop to the lowest for more than two decades, agricultural groups warned.