Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/03/2012 -- We forecast private consumption to contract by 1.2% in 2012, having increased by 0.9% in 2011. In March, households paid the increased regional surtax on personal income and, in mid-June, they were set to be hit by a new property tax. A VAT increase is also pencilled in for October, although the government is currently looking at ways to avoid the hike. Inflation has also remained surprisingly elevated in Italy - coming in at 3.7% year-on-year (y-o-y) in April - as the government raises administered prices, further reducing household's purchasing power. Households will also be reluctant to spend amid high unemployment and stagnating incomes. We expect slow income growth over the medium term because, unable to devalue its own currency, Italy will need restrained wage growth to become internationally competitive again. Despite these forces weighing on consumption, we do not expect a collapse in household spending. Household savings have historically been one of the highest in the EU, providing a cushion during difficult times.
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Headline Industry Data (local currency)
- 2012 per capita food consumption = +0.4%; forecast change between 2011 and 2016 = +6.0%
- 2012 alcoholic drink sales = +3.2%; forecast to 2016 = +14.7%
- 2012 soft drink sales = -0.3% ; forecast to 2016 = +9.8%
- 2012 mass grocery retail sales = +0.5%; forecast to 2016 = +7.1%
Key Industry Trends And Developments
Parmalat Sales Grow At Home And Abroad: Italian dairy firm Parmalat has posted net sales growth of 5.9% for the first quarter of 2012. The growth was broad-based with revenues up by 2.2% in Italy, 4.1% in the rest of Europe, 3.8% in Canada, 3.1% in Africa, 16.8% in Australia and 5.2% in Central and South America. While net profits were down due to a reduction in extraordinary income, EBITDA was up reaching EUR75.1mn compared to 70.2mn in the same period a year ago. These results paint a solid picture, with the firm's capable performance in the difficult Italian market perhaps the most notable result.
Campari Could Get Dragged Down By Italy: Italian drinks group Campari has continued to record steady sales growth, with growing momentum in the improving US market and resilience in Italy and Germany. In the three months to the end of March, sales were up by 4% to EUR279.3mn, while operating profits increased by 2.7% to EUR62.4mn. Campari has developed a very strong long-term business model, with a focus on brand building behind a limited number of brands combined with investment in what had previously been neglected categories. This has helped the firm to post market-beating rates of growth in recent years. However, we believe the firm's high exposure to the Italian market could see the firm come under greater pressure during 2012.
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