PARIS Jan 10 Competition from year-round
promotions could dampen France's winter clearance sales that
start on Wednesday, a retail analyst said, predicting revenues
could be flat to down two percent for the six-week ritual that
ends on Feb. 21.
Yves Marin, senior manager at the Wavestone consultancy said
on Tuesday some retailers would offer discounts of up to 70
percent to attract shoppers after a weak 2016, but cold weather
should help clothing retailers.
"This is the first year with such promotional intensity. We
had a strong Black Friday in November, Christmas and post
Christmas promotions and this creates much uncertainty for
retailers," Marin told Reuters by phone.
The winter sales season traditionally provides an important
boost for clothing stores, which often have a stock of winter
clothes to sell. Cold weather since December should help boost
demand for large items such as coats and jackets.
Big department stores, who struggled in 2016 as security
fears tied to Islamist attacks kept foreign tourists away from
the French capital, also bank on clearance sales to revive their
business, Marin said.
Sales at Le Printemps store on the Boulevard Haussmann, one
of Paris' best-known shopping streets, fell 10 percent
year-on-year last year, the store general manager Pierre
Pelarrey told BFM-TV on Monday.
At rival department store Galeries Lafayette on the same
boulevard, a group spokeswoman said 2016 was a "mixed" year,
citing a steep fall in sales after the July Nice attacks and a
return of Japanese, American, Russian and Brazilian tourists at
the end of the year.
The winter clearance sales come as the euro zone's
second-biggest economy is showing some signs of improvement.
Consumer confidence for December stood at a nine-year high,
the official INSEE statistics agency said last month, as
unemployment fears receded slightly while households also felt
more confident about their personal finances.
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon and Pascale Denis; Editing by
Bate Felix and Alexandra Hudson)