The fascist 'disciplining' of the Italian retail sector 1922-40

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Under the Fascist dictatorship, fundamental laws for the regulation of 'disciplining' of retail commerce were introduced. This article analyses three main features of these - the creation of a compulsory retailers' confederation, the system of price controls, and the introduction of a licensing system. The regime's priority for retailing was that it should distribute essential commodities at the lowest possible prices, thereby satisfying basic demand within an economy that privileged production at the expense of consumption. The original expectation was that this would be achieved through a combination of the 'modernisation' of 'retailers' practices and a reduction in the numbers of smal scale enterprises. Ultimately, however, it was traditional retailers who proved most able to adjust to the declining profitability and lack of opportunity that characterised distribution in the Fascist era.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-164
Number of pages27
JournalBusiness History
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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