Tough 2009 for French fashion chains

Tough 2009 for French fashion chains

Having dropped 3% in 2008, French clothing and textiles sales fell a further 3.2% last year, according to provisional figures from the Institut Français de la Mode (IFM), making it the worst year for the sector since 1995.

While December 2009 sales increased 4% on the same month the previous year - doubtless boosted by a surge in sales of winter clothing due to the sudden arrival of severe weather - the IFM underlines that December 2008 was itself a weak month, down 4.9% on December 2007.

Nevertheless, the decline in sales does appear to be narrowing, having reached a peak in the third quarter (-9%), it adds.

Independent outlets appeared to have suffered most in 2009, with their sales down de 4.4% compared to retail chains (-2.5%).

The IFM estimates that in 2009 sales at knock-down prices represented 31% of retailers' turnover compared to 18.5% a decade ago.