In effort to defend families, Italy plans to ban Sunday shopping

I am all for encouraging family solidarity and social policies that support family cohesion.  But the populist coalition governing Italy may be making a big mistake in trying to ban Sunday shopping there.

Reuters reports:

The new Italian government will introduce a ban on Sunday shopping in large commercial centres before the end of the year as it seeks to defend family traditions, Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Sunday.

Sunday shopping in Italy was permitted only six years ago, in an effort to stimulate the economy.


Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan (photo credit: Mike Beales).

"This liberalisation is in fact destroying Italian families," said Di Maio, who is head of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.  "We need to start limiting opening and closing times again," he told reporters.

Maybe so, but Italians can still shop online 24-7.  The trend throughout the world is a diminishing share of retail sales taking place in brick-and-mortar stores.  Hobbling the ability of the physical stores to compete can only hasten this flight to online shopping.

Conservatives often berate progressives for not thinking through their policies and anticipating consequences that would undermine their stated goals.  Sometimes, that sort of caution needs to be employed on our side of the political spectrum.

Poland, a far more religious country than Italy, has already implemented restrictions on Sunday shopping.  In that environment, there is at least a chance of positive results.  While I wish the populist Italian government well in its efforts, I fear that more retailers will be driven out of business.

I am all for encouraging family solidarity and social policies that support family cohesion.  But the populist coalition governing Italy may be making a big mistake in trying to ban Sunday shopping there.

Reuters reports:

The new Italian government will introduce a ban on Sunday shopping in large commercial centres before the end of the year as it seeks to defend family traditions, Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Sunday.

Sunday shopping in Italy was permitted only six years ago, in an effort to stimulate the economy.


Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan (photo credit: Mike Beales).

"This liberalisation is in fact destroying Italian families," said Di Maio, who is head of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.  "We need to start limiting opening and closing times again," he told reporters.

Maybe so, but Italians can still shop online 24-7.  The trend throughout the world is a diminishing share of retail sales taking place in brick-and-mortar stores.  Hobbling the ability of the physical stores to compete can only hasten this flight to online shopping.

Conservatives often berate progressives for not thinking through their policies and anticipating consequences that would undermine their stated goals.  Sometimes, that sort of caution needs to be employed on our side of the political spectrum.

Poland, a far more religious country than Italy, has already implemented restrictions on Sunday shopping.  In that environment, there is at least a chance of positive results.  While I wish the populist Italian government well in its efforts, I fear that more retailers will be driven out of business.