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Stricken French retailers start summer sales early

Dan MacGuill · 24 Jun 2013, 13:11

Published: 24 Jun 2013 13:11 GMT+02:00

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The much-hyped French summer sales are not scheduled to begin until Wednesday, but some retailers in Paris have been trying to get a head start on competitors.

In a bid to boost sales certain shops have declined to wait for the official starting gun and have already begun the 'soldes' season in earnest.

As well as putting the usual discounted stock on sale early stores offering slashed prices to newsletter subscribers and loyalty card holders, in particular.

The measures are an effort to make up for a dire spring season, with French department stores seeing a 10-percent drop in sales from last year, according to BFMTV.

A seemingly endless economic crisis, compounded by dismal weather, accounts for the massive shortfall now facing retailers.

“Because of the bad weather, customers have been looking in particular for winter stuff,” one young shoe vendor in the capital told French daily Le Parisien on Monday.

Which is bad news for apparel and accessories stores who have stockpiled their shorts, swimwear and t-shirts for the summer season.

“We still have at least 50 percent more stock than usual,” the vendor added.

Dire straits for French retailers, however, appear to have translated into big bargains for the French consumer.

In the 1st arrondissement of Paris, on the busy shopping street of Rue de Rivoli, one clothing store is already offering €20 back on purchases of more than €50, according to Le Parisien.

Despite some stores getting ahead the real summer sales bonanza will kick off on Wednesday with the streets of the capital expected to be clogged on evenings and weekends as shoppers fight for bargains.

Story continues below…

A report by France's national statistics agency (INSEE) last week predicted that consumer spending, the traditional motor of the French economy, would likely remain stuck in reverse this year.

INSEE saw household purchasing power declining by 0.2 percent this year after dropping by 0.9 percent in 2012.

Furthermore, the report expected French consumers to stop dipping into their savings this year and start to put more money aside.

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

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