Sad results for the winter sales which end on Tuesday, March 2. The two-week extension failed to reverse the trend. “People are not buying more, or less, clothes. They are teleworking, they do not go out, do not go to the restaurant ”, said Monday on BFMTV Business Jacques Creyssel, general delegate of the Federation Commerce and Distribution (FCD).
An observation shared by Marc Sanchez, the general secretary of the Syndicat des Indépendants (SDI), questioned by “Obs”. “All sectors combined, we are on an overall loss of turnover of 20 to 30%”, he explains.
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Le Procos, the specialized trade federation, which represents 300 brands “Suspected that it was not going to be a success”.
“January was very bad because of the lag. Then, there was the closure of shopping centers from the second weekend of sales. Without forgetting of course the curfew which makes traders lose between 15 and 20% of the turnover. In short, the results cannot be good, in particular for the personal equipment sector and sports brands, for which this period is important to sell stocks ”, underlines Emmanuel Le Roch, his general delegate, in the columns of “Parisien”.
The home sector on the rise
The most affected are the personal equipment traders. “Over the month of February and taking into account all the stores included in our panel, we are at -22% of sales in the month of February”, explains to AFP Yohann Petiot, general manager of the Alliance du commerce (clothing, footwear and town center shops). A figure that takes into account the stores that had to close in shopping centers in February.
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Despite a drop in turnover, certain geographic areas are better off, in the Paris suburbs or in Normandy, for example. Certain categories of goods have also attracted consumers. “The home sector is doing well, the trend compared to last year’s sales is even increasing”, details Bernard Chaix, owner of a furniture store in Nice and vice-president of the local Chamber of Commerce (CCI).
The impact of the 6 p.m. curfew
The curfew advanced to 6 p.m., which, according to Marc Sanchez, limited visits to shops, and in particular small businesses, largely explains this very mixed record.
“Rather than extending the period of the sales by two weeks, we would have preferred to move the curfew to 8 pm. Unfortunately, our request was not heeded. ”
“When you pick up your children at 5.30 pm, you won’t go shopping afterwards”, adds Jacques Creyssel, who emphasizes “A huge mistake” : that of having postponed the sales when the stores in the shopping centers were closing.
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Another explanation: sales “Which have not greatly benefited traders”, explains Marc Sanchez. While “Consumers were well served before the official period”, especially with Black Friday, many owners of small businesses have not been able to replenish their cash flow and have become even more in debt. ” And it’s not over. There are still great uncertainties weighing on businesses with the hypothesis of re-containment. ”
For Rémy Langlois, vice-president of the CCI of the Pays de Rennes, “Ready-to-wear will have to review its economic model”, with a physical point of sale that “Loses its attractiveness”. The situation encouraged the digital transition, but “Poses cash flow problems for businesses that have not been able to liquidate their stock and are already seeing new collections arriving when they have little money in the cash registers”.
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Faced with this situation, Marc Sanchez asks for a status report on the indebtedness of companies that risk liquidation, and the establishment of a safeguard procedure. He wishes that “The government better integrates local businesses (which represent 98% of the French economic fabric) in the recovery plan”.
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The government could announce within two weeks a device to compensate for the loss of value of stocks that traders have not managed to sell during the sales, said Tuesday the Minister for SMEs Alain Griset. “We are going to look, in the context of the solidarity fund, how to take into account the loss in value of stocks”, he declared on France-Culture.
“The devices are currently under study. There are several possible schemes. I think that within a fortnight at most, with [le ministre de l’Économie] Bruno Le Maire, we will be able to announce a device adapted to the needs. “