The start of the summer sales in France will be postponed from June 24 to July 15 to meet the demand from some retailers whose outlets have been closed for a long time because of the coronavirus, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire announced on Tuesday.
“The sales will start on 15 July and will last four weeks,” Le Maire told RTL, explaining that the decision had been taken at the “request of small traders”.
“I wanted to postpone the date of the sales to take account of the situation of small traders,” who need “time” to “rebuild” their cash flow after several months of closure due to the coronavirus epidemic, the minister explained.
“I know that this may pose difficulties for other major retailers (…) but I think it is legitimate to support in these very special moments those who are the weakest, those who have the most threatened treasuries,” said the Mayor. “It is a question of both economic efficiency and justice,” he added.
According to the official texts, the period of summer sales in most of France was initially set from Wednesday 24 June to Tuesday 21 July 2020.
The lockdown, however, has led to three significant problems to consider for industry:
The accumulation of very large stocks during the two months of store closures
Low cash flow that must be urgently replenished
Consumption that will not resume as before
From as early as the end of March, several merchant federations had begun to reflect on the subject in the face of a crisis of unprecedented proportions for the sector, and asked for their date and duration to be changed.
In Belgium the sales have been postponed: they will start on 1 August. Shops have been allowed to reopen from 11 May, and now have the chance to sell their collections at normal prices before the sales period starts.
“A necessary measure for our badly affected fashion sector,” Isolde Delanghe, director of the trade association Mode Unie said, in a press release. “Mode Unie is also very pleased that the voice of the independent fashion sector has influenced the policy. In this way, the government gives fashion stores the much-needed breathing space to sell their summer stock one month longer at a normal margin,” she added.
The period preceding sales, in which all discounts are banned, will take place in July instead of June.
Belgium is the only European country with such an arrangement (referred to in French as the pre-sales period or in Dutch as the waiting or closed period), which is meant to protect small retailers and consumers from deceiving pricing from larger businesses.