If the rate of decline continues then 43,000 will be shut by the end of the year and there will be no small shops left by 2023, the association warned.
Any hike in the VAT rate would also push the sector to the brink, the association said in a press release.
“It would lead to a further decline in consumption and the retail trade will worsen; the terrible scenario of a country with no neighbourhood shops is likely to come true.”
An estimated 120,000 jobs will also be lost by the end of the year if the haemorrhage continues, the association added.
“This is an emergency and has a social, economic and employment impact… it demonstrates once again that Italy cannot afford a catastrophe in the retail sector.”