DISCOUNT: After more than two months of store closures due to the confinement decided to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, stocks are at a “particularly high level”
They are far from the images of people rushing into stores when they open to grab the best deals. The summer sales, which begin this Wednesday and end on August 11, take place in a very specific context this year: consumers’ reluctance, health measures still in force in stores, textile brands in turmoil and professionals quite depressed.
“This is the last chance for traders to sell their stocks after a season which has been particularly difficult”, recently confided to AFP Yohann Petiot, the director-general of the Alliance du commerce, which brings together the Union of large city centre trade, the Federation of clothing brands and that of shoe brands. After more than two months of store closures due to the confinement decided to stem the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, stocks are indeed at a “particularly high level”, he said.
It is therefore high time to move on to something else, to forget this unprecedented spring-summer season, both in terms of lost sales, gaping holes in the treasuries of shops, and anxieties about the future.
Sales volume down 45% in one year
According to an INSEE report published on Friday, the volume of sales fell by 45% in the non-food retail trade between April 2019 and April 2020, a huge shortfall that traders have been trying, since deconfinement, to catch up, by focusing in particular on private sales and other promotions. But low prices aren’t everything, even though sales are the only time of year when it’s allowed to sell at a loss.
Attracting customers in this period of the end of the health crisis is not easy: the French have got into the habit of spending only for their basic needs and have preferred to save (up to 60 billion euros according to the government).
The reinforced health protocol
“In terms of volume, in 2020, household consumption of goods fell by 17% in March and 34% in April compared to the same months of the previous year, before recovering in May when it was only 8% lower than a year earlier, ”underlines INSEE in its report.
And this deconsumption, or this “frugal and responsible” consumption as the analysis for AFP Yves Marin, an expert in the distribution sector within the Bartle firm, is likely to last. Thus, according to a study by the consulting firm BCG, carried out among a little over 9,000 consumers in China, the United States and France, “56% of French people expect strong signs of recovery before going again to store ”, when the Chinese are 49% and the Americans 59%.
It is not the sanitary measures put in place in the points of sale – the wearing of a compulsory mask, systematic hydroalcoholic gel, changing rooms sometimes inaccessible – which will encourage shopping. The Trade Alliance had asked the authorities at the end of June to lighten this sanitary protocol in order to “encourage and facilitate the return to the store”, as is the case in companies, Yohann Petiot explains to AFP, but in vain. On the contrary, the protocol has been further strengthened: on Wednesday, President Emmanuel Macron announced that the mask would become mandatory in closed places from August 1. “For the players in our sector,