To mitigate losses in revenue resulting from the country’s ten-week confinement, France is postponing its summer sales period by three weeks said Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Tuesday.
Like many European countries, France has strict regulations regarding the length of its promotional period. Summer reductions were previously scheduled to run for four weeks from June 24 to July 21 but now they will start on July 15 and run til the middle of August.
The Institut Français de la Mode (French Institute of Fashion) reported this week that year on year revenues were down by 28.2% percent in the first four months of 2020.
However, the new regulations only apply to independent retailers who are perceived to be more seriously affected by the pandemic in terms of immediate cash flow than their larger counterparts with more resources.
Eric Mertz, president of the Fédération Nationale de l’habillement, (the National Clothing Federation) welcomed the fact that the government “was listening to independents who have experienced increased distress due to the downturn in commerce.” Nevertheless, he warned that the measures might not go far enough as stores were still experiencing a 30% drop in attendance compared to normal. He suggested a reassessment might be necessary.
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He had initially proposed that general sales only begin in August. He had also wanted to limit the country’s ventes privées system. These are early private sales for registered customers operated by larger concerns. They constitute an exception to the rules.
The government’s announcement follows an open letter published last month by a group of international designers and retailers led by Dries Van Noten. It called for a rethink the traditional calendar of retail deliveries and discounts for all retailers, not only independents.
It proposed that deliveries be realigned with the actual seasons so fall/winter merchandising would take place between August and January and spring/summer between February and July. It also asked that a discount period be set for the end of the season in question as opposed to mid-season sales.