Declining sales, a reduction in production volumes, increased exports and a rise in imports all characterised the French apparel market for the first six months of this year. The data, which has been released by the Paris-based Centre for the Economic Observation of Textiles (CTCOE or Centre Textile de Conjoncture et d'Observation Economique) covered the performance of the French apparel market between January and September 2000. During this period, sales increased by 1.3 per cent compared with the same period in 1999. Important variations were recorded across different distribution channels, the most significant of which is the increase in sales value seen within the popular chain stores.