Rome

Italians to reduce spending on Christmas and New Year feasts

Federalimentari sees 100-million-euro cut as new taxes weigh

Italians to reduce spending on Christmas and New Year feasts

(ANSA)- Rome, December 6 - Spending on foods and drinks for Christmas and New Year holidays, which are traditionally safe from spending cuts by consumers, are likely to drop by some 100 million euros, Italy's Federalimentari trade association said Thursday. Federalimentari says that consumers are having to tighten their belts because they need to save and pay for the second tranche of a new real-estate tax called IMU, implemented as part of efforts by the government of Mario Monti to get Italy's debt under control. According to the trade association, the IMU represents ''an ulterior, strong drain on spending for 80% of Italian families''. Overall consumer spending over the past four years has been relatively stable, Federalimentari said. However, spending on food has recorded a cumulative drop of some 9-10% over the same time period. In 2012 alone, the drop in spending has been between 2.5-3%, the trade group said. ''The reasons for this phenomenon are for the most part due to the fact that overall consumption in these years has been held up by increasing costs for energy and services, especially tariffs,'' Filippo Ferrua, Federalimentari president said. In order to make ends meet, families have therefore been forced to make cuts in their food budgets, Ferrua explained.

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