“Look for good deals”: the winter sales began on Wednesday in a context of inflation which constrains certain budgets, even if it can be tempting to take advantage of bargains during a period that is still buoyant in terms of consumption.
In the Zara store in the Italie Deux shopping center in Paris, Jacques Fitoussi, 78, explains to AFP that he has set his sights on a sweater on sale at -40%. “It’s not to be despised,” he says.
However, the sales, which will end on February 7, are far from being the only appointment to benefit from lower prices.
“We started two weeks before with private sales,” Marie Lefer, deputy manager of a Jules clothing store in Lyon, told AFP on Wednesday. Some brands have started these promotions reserved for identified customers the day after Christmas.
With the proliferation of private sales, “the sales are becoming less interesting” for Linda Ozenne, 41, present Wednesday morning at Italie Deux. “We see discounts at -20% or -30% that we have all year round with markdowns,” she says.
“People no longer take RTT for the sales, that time is over”, regrets Laurie Szulder, saleswoman in the Forestland clothing store in the Italy Two center, where customers were still few on Wednesday morning.
It is all the ambivalence of this framed period of sales, which loses importance each year in the face of competition from private promotions, but remains a high point of consumption.
Cécile Nury, director in charge in particular of customer relations at Relais Colis, observes that the sales effect “has been somewhat blunted in recent years on the volumes of parcels” managed by the delivery company and which remain “50% higher on a normal day.” By way of comparison, volumes during the key holiday season, Black Friday included, are more like twice as high as on a normal day.
In the Parisian center Italy Two, Kasia Fleschel, 37, came “to look for good plans”, but “the objective is not to be tempted too much” in a period when inflation is reducing budgets. “More and more, I’m getting into second-hand items,” also says Ms. Fleschel.
In a clothing store in downtown Lyon, Simon Scozzafave, a 24-year-old physiotherapist, is disappointed with the level of promotions offered. “It’s not enough for me so I’ll come back later,” he says.
– “Fragile social climate” –
And for physical commerce? “The context of the sales depends on what we did during the season”, replies Yohann Petiot, general manager of the Alliance du Commerce, which brings together department stores and clothing and footwear brands. October and November were “not very good” and “the Black Friday period was not exceptional either”.
“On the other hand, the month of December was good”, he continues, with sales “11% higher than 2021 in stores and 4% online”, according to a panel of around forty representative brands. of the clothing market carried out by the Alliance du Commerce with Retail Int. “We hope to maintain this momentum for January, the start of the month seems good for the moment”, according to him.
After years disrupted by the Covid-19, traders have, according to him, “reasonable stocks”, and Yohann Petiot advises customers to “come as soon as the sales start” to “do good business”.
But with inflation hitting businesses, retailers might be tempted to make smaller markdowns to preserve their margins as much as possible.
Reason for concern according to Mr. Petiot, in addition to the “fragile social climate”: “in January a certain number of bills fall which have increased further, the question arises as to whether the French will have the purchasing power to indulge themselves “on the occasion of the sales in a context of still significant inflation.