Rome: “This Christmas buy from the shops in your neighbourhood.” This is the joint call from Italy’s retail organisation Confesercenti and consumer watchdog Codacons.
Highlighting the “risks to competition,” Codacons has asked the government to study ways of limiting the “excessive power” of the American online giant Amazon, reports Italian newspaper La Stampa.
“As long as anti-covid restrictions on the store front remain in force, e-commerce companies such as Amazon would obtain enormous benefits because all the purchases of Italians would be transferred from physical stores to the web,” explains Codacons.
“If on the one hand Italian consumption and production could benefit from online shopping, on the other hand there would be enormous damage to the traditional retail trade, with clear damage to competition and trade.”
Under Italy’s covid-19 restrictions, non-essential shops in the high-risk red zone regions are closed, with shopping malls across the country closed at weekends.
“This second wave is creating a very serious imbalance of competition between real shops and the web: while the former are closed by the government and the regions, the online sales channel is totally active and operates under monopoly conditions” – says Confesercenti – “This is a very serious problem for shops, especially as we head towards Christmas”.
Codacons and Confesercenti are throwing their support behind the “Christmas without Amazon” campaign begun in France, backed by figures including Paris mayor Anne Hildago and the French union of bookshops, inviting people to support local businesses instead of shopping online.