I found this news story at Mish's blog
It is not just stifling summer heat that is keeping shoppers at bay on Rome's Via del Corso: as the economic crisis hits locals and tourists alike, many shops have little choice but to close for good. The few people around seem to ziz zag from shop to shop, seeking relief from the heat in air-conditioned outlets and leaving behind frustrated shop assistants who struggle to sell anything despite discounts of up to 80 percent. "The crisis has hit everyone," sighed one empty-handed customer, while shopkeepers up and down the street whiled away their time folding and re-folding piles of brightly coloured T-shirts and stylish outfits. "The sales have not gone well," said clothes shop manager Fabio Anticoli. While the eternal city usually draws tourists from all over the world who spend their cash on Italian designs, "this year, it's an impoverished tourism." The sales have gone "very badly" compared with 2011 according to the shopkeepers' association Confesercenti, which reports a 20 percent drop in turnover in central Rome, a figure that rises to 40 percent in outer suburbs.