The latest figures from France's Institut de la Mode show that the value of French garment sales rose 0.9% in May on the corresponding month the previous year.

The minor upturn in May followed falling sales in April (-1.9%) and in March (-4.8%).

In May, discount outlets, department stores and mail order firms posted the strongest growth with increases in sales of 6.8%, 6.5% and 5.8% respectively. In contrast, hypermarket and supermarket sales declined by 4.5%.

Overall, women's ready-to-wear sales in May increased by 0.8% and by 2.4% for smaller articles.

Men's ready- to-wear sales rose by 1.6% but other lines declined. Children's wear sales increased by 0.7%. 

Sales turnover was unchanged in the first five months of the year on 2005 levels but discount outlets and department stores posted growth of 5.6% and 5.4% respectively.

By Stuart Todd.