Summer sales kick off across France
Despite the financial crisis, retailers expect high sale figures as the annual summer sales kicked off Wednesday across France. Sweltering weather, buoyant exchange rates and the Internet account for the latest optimism.
Starting at 8 am sharp on Wednesday, consumers across France will now able to storm the shops or flood the Internet, with annual summer sales offering discounts of 30, 50 or 70 percent or even 90 percent on the Web, a welcome price slash in these times of financial crisis.
Many businesses have extended their opening hours, but not all will open their doors in the early morning hours. Online sales are expected to rise sharply for the next five weeks.
This year, some traders had unsuccessfully sought to bring the summer sales forward by a week to enable them to reach customers before they leave for their annual summer vacation – a virtual institution in France. But others noted that the bulk of sales are done during the July 14 Bastille Day national holiday.
The weather as well as the currency exchange rate appeared to align to boost summer sales this year. After a fairly cold May, the scorching heat, which is good for sales, returned to most parts of France this week. The euro has also fallen sharply, prompting tourists to buy more.
Officials at Gallery Lafayette, the famous department store in Paris, said they expect a "very good year”. Department stores saw their sales rise in recent months.
France's Federation of e-commerce and distance selling (Fevad) has also predicted good business, saying that "people will try to do good business in times of crisis."
Still, "the summer sales are never as good as the winter sales because consumers are paying less for light garments that are not work clothes," said Pascale Hebel, consumer director at the Paris-based think-tank Credoc, told the AFP. “And with schools closed through the summer, young consumers are less driven to wear designer clothes.”