French retailers call for federal aid as sales fail to rebound after lockdown

French retailers call for federal aid as sales fail to rebound after lockdown

France’s second lockdown has ravaged brick and mortar retailers, who have yet to see sales recover to pre-pandemic levels, despite the reopening of “non-essential” businesses.

The French Council of Commerce (CDCF) a group of multiple business federations, said in a statement many clothing, shoe, jewelry, beauty-product and perfume retailers are facing a revenue slump of more than 20 percent over the year 2020. The CDCF is further suggesting measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic are changing consumer shopping behaviour.

The results show that despite a good recovery linked to Black Friday and holiday shopping, the turnover of retailers remains below their forecasts.

In statement the CDVD said retailers face high stock levels and the rules of social distancing in stores means 8 m² of sales area per customer has greatly reduced footfall and shows customers have not yet found their way back to their shops.

“Insurmountable economic situation”

“Many shopkeepers could decide to put up the shutters for good to avoid racking up further losses and dragging out an insurmountable economic situation,” said William Koeberle, chairman of the trade group.

The French Council of Commerce urged the government to help retailers, and not just the smallest ones, adding that a number of chain stores were close to ceasing operations. This support should include allowing retailers to open on Sundays ahead of the delayed start of the annual winter discount sales on on January 20th. Koeberle said retailers need more activity in January than ever before.

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