Retailers told French media that this year's sales period, despite Covid-19 putting a strain on their activities, had not been “catastrophic”, as the summer sales entered their final day.
“It worked very well,” Sophie, a shopkeeper told La Voix du Nord. Her shop saw a “25 percent increase in turnover for the month of July”.
To allow retailers more time to sell their goods at full price, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire delayed this year's summer sales one month, from June 24th to July 15th.
“This delay takes account of the situation of small traders,” Le Maire told French radio station RTL in June.
France's retail sector was still reeling from closing down for two months during the nationwide lockdown set in place in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
All non-essential shops in France closed on March 17th and reopened from May 11th as lockdown lifted, leaving the retail sector reeling.
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Sales in France are highly regulated and happen just twice a year – in January and again in summer – with the dates set by the government. Outside these times there are strict limits on the types of discounts that shops can offer.
While the shopkeepers interviewed by La Voix du Nord agreed that the sales period had “not been catastrophic,” others said postponing the sales period was a bad call.
“It was not a good idea because people went on vacation,” Parisian shopkeeper Sandra told France Info, adding:
“We did not have time to sell out all our stocks. So we would have preferred them being maintained for the month of June.”
Everyone must wear a mask when entering a shop in France. Photo: AFP
When the delay was announced, unions representing shop owners welcomed the government's announcement.
A spokesman for the SDI union said they “welcome this measure, which it had been asking for several weeks, essential to rebuild the cash flow of local shops badly affected by the crisis and to allow them to sell their stocks at a normal price”.
“It is an intermediate solution between retailers and small retailers, and in the current situation it will allow each to organise themselves according to their own constraints,” Emmanuel Le Roch, general manager of the Procos federation of specialist retailers, which represents more than 450,000 jobs in more than 200 retailers, told AFP.