No one expected an exceptional vintage. Covid-19 crisis requires, the summer sales, which end this Tuesday evening, hardly allowed traders, already strongly affected by the confinement, to replenish the coffers. The strong promotions (up to 70%) were there. But not the customers.
The results are "rather nuanced", is content to concede Alain Griset, Minister for SMEs. “Overall, we are seeing a 30% drop in turnover. The North resisted better, the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region was more affected ", specifies Francis Palombi, president of the confederation of traders. In Paris too, between the absence of tourists and the departure on vacation of its inhabitants, the balance sheet is negative: 79% of traders in the capital even consider it "very disappointing", according to a survey by the Chamber of Commerce and industry.
And the reasons for this failure are multiple. “Overall, we are witnessing deconsumption since deconfinement. Consumers are worried about their future, there is fear of unemployment, of social plans, they spend less, ”explains Francis Palombi, who also points to teleworking. “People have less need to dress if they stay and work at home. The sanitary measures put in place in the stores were also able to dissuade some customers. "It's difficult to make the sales a festive event when you have to wear a mask, stand in line before entering the store or respect the distances", concedes Emmanuel Le Roch, general manager of the Federation of Specialized Trade (Procos).
The big brands look gray
In this anxiety-provoking context, did the postponement of the sales from June 24 to July 15 have a beneficial effect? On this point, no one agrees. "We are satisfied with this because it has enabled certain retailers, especially shoes, to sell before the sales under normal conditions", underlines Francis Palombi, who had campaigned for this measure.
For big brands, on the other hand, the postponement did not make many people happy. "In large urban areas in particular, this had a negative impact since people were no longer there even if the big players had anticipated this by offering private sales in June," says Emmanuel Le Roch, who recalls in particular the slight increase in turnover of textile stores (+ 3.2%) in July. “For a sales period, we should have been at + 30%,” he recalls.
And even in sectors that are rather dynamic since deconfinement (home equipment, high-tech or even sport), the postponement "has not been beneficial", deplores Olivier Garcia, product managers at Fnac-Darty. “The start was better than in the first days of the June 2019 sales, both online and in stores. But it was not the products on sale that carried us over the entire period. The weight of sales turnover is thus in decline: it represents 22.5% of total business against 27% last year ”, he indicates.
How will the start of the school year go?
Same story on the side of Go Sport: the postponement of the start of sales "prevented us from having significant customer traffic over the first two weeks of July", annoys Nicolas Forgeas, director of the offer. However, he is delighted to have been able to record “slightly positive sales over this period, thanks in particular to the very buoyant cycle, urban sports and fitness market. In the end, we are doing not too badly. "
E-commerce is also doing well. According to a study conducted by Idealo, an online price comparison site that brings together more than 14,000 brands, the French have benefited more from promotions on the Internet than the previous summer: “ We see a 38% increase in products purchased through our site during these four weeks, says Laurence Rega, public relations manager. In our view, this is mainly a shift from the physical store to the online store. Consumers have certainly taken on this habit, born during the lockdown, of buying online instead. "
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But Emmanuel Le Roch warns: “The dynamism of e-commerce only partially compensates for the loss of activity in stores. We must now look to the start of the school year, which will have to be successful despite all the uncertainties. "