Italy agrees steps with retailers to control prices of staple goods

Rome: Italy on Thursday signed off a deal with distributors’ associations to try to control the prices of essential goods in the last quarter of this year, though the last word on binding commitments remained in the hands of individual retailers.

Inflation in Italy has declined from peaks, but remains a headache for Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, at a time when companies are often blamed for passing on more than the direct increase in production costs to consumers.

Presenting the so-called “anti-inflation pact”, Meloni said she was “very optimistic” about the outcome of the initiative, adding the government would work to extend it beyond December.

France announced a similar plan last month, experiencing difficulties in securing the support of big players such as Unilever (ULVR.L), Nestle (NESN.S) and PepsiCo (PEP.O).

According to the Italy deal, participating supermarkets chains and small retailers should define a basket of food and non-food staples to which lowered prices apply, with basic necessities also including childcare and personal care products.

Industry associations representing, among others, pasta maker Barilla, dairy group Granarolo and confectionery maker Ferrero, provided some cooperation to the government but stopped short of offering firm promises.