Let’s go for a month of winter sales, from Wednesday January 12 to February 8. But traders fear that the Covid-19 epidemic will deter consumers from hunting for bargains, at least in stores.
“With everything that is happening at the sanitary level”, Anna Sanchez, director of the Mango store in Strasbourg, was rather fatalistic on the eve of the sales kickoff. “Our objective would be to try to do as well” than in 2019, but “With the current number of contaminations, we are not sure of getting there”.
“The concern is strong, we see that the decision to put everyone to telework [pour endiguer la propagation du Covid-19] has already had a significant impact on the influx into stores ”, alerted Monday Florence Bonnet-Touré, secretary general of the National Clothing Federation (FNH), which represents independent businesses in the sector.
“The customers, we are waiting for them firmly. But look how calm it is, there isn’t a cat in the streets! “, worried Joëlle Allègre, co-owner of the Shoes Art store in Bordeaux, Tuesday. “We have the impression that the sales are not really the priority. “” Wednesday, it will be double or quits “, abounded Clémence du Curia, saleswoman at Aigle in Strasbourg. “Customers tell me that during the sales, we are too tight, that there are too many people… It is true that it is not ideal. But I remain optimistic, I want to believe that it will work ”.
Inflation may weigh on sales
In this uncertain environment, traders could be tempted to cut prices significantly, to get the period off to a good start. “The sales will start very, very strong because we do not know what will happen after”, estimates Christian Baulme, president of the Round of districts which represents 400 merchants of Bordeaux.
The period has in any case lost its uniqueness with the emergence of promotions and private sales. “We had already noticed in recent years that we worked better on certain days before the sales than during the sales”, explains Lilit, sales assistant at the Géox store in Strasbourg where many items are already showing – 20% or – 30% in the context of private sales. “The sales were good five or six years ago, there was a rush on Wednesday, a lot of people on Saturday, there were six of us working in the store with temporary workers, whereas now there are only two, 5 full times “, she continues. Currently, the clientele of the shop, rather elderly, “Afraid of the Covid” and in addition “Learned to buy on the Internet, where there are promotions all year round”, she emphasizes.
The context of inflation is likely to weigh on sales, because when other expenditure items are more important, consumers reduce the budget allocated to fashion spending. Something to worry traders: eight out of ten independent traders say they are worried about the sustainability of their commercial activity in 2022, according to the FNH.
Enough to push, too, to find other economic models, less dependent on broken prices: thus in Bordeaux, Maxime Razès, who manages the Do you speak French? Store, selling only “Made in France” items, will not do, him, no sales. “It is estimated that the price of the product is fair for French producers. There is no reason for the product to be devalued at one time of the year “, he explains. “If we do the sales, we have to do them all the time, private sales… it’s endless ”.