SALES TIMING: The debate around sales dates in France is stirring.

While the official periods for the winter sales are set for Jan. 6 through Feb. 16 and from June 22 to Aug. 2 for the summer sales (or six weeks for each), some industry players are advocating for change.

This comes after a reform in the French legislation effective since January 2015, when the so-called floating sales — when French retailers were allowed to hold sales outside the official periods — were removed, with the sales period extended from five to six weeks.

“The calendar is out of step with the pace of the collections, with the winter sales beginning two days after the resumption of business following the holiday break and just two weeks after the beginning of winter,” the French Women’s Ready-to-Wear Federation, representing more than 3,000 apparel brands, said.

“We know that sales come at a time when consumption is picking up: The regulation is at odds [with the industry] and deprives retailers of their margins,” federation head Daniel Wertel told WWD.

“Ideally, sales should start a month later, or in early February for the winter sales, and for a shorter period of time,” Wertel added. “Sales have become a consumption frenzy, while they should be to sellout stock.”

Wertel urged the need to reach a consensus across the industry.

Martine Pinville, a French politician who reports to the economy minister, said “the removal of the floating sales, the longer sales period and its timing have stirred an important debate because different players do not have the same issues of stock or seasonality.”

“With the new formula, nobody is disadvantaged, and most importantly consumers now benefit from a clearer system. And therefore a more attractive one,” she added.

According to the current legislation, winter sales start the second Wednesday of January, but when it falls after the 12th of the month, it’s advanced to the first Wednesday of the month, which will be the case in 2016.

A vast majority of French women — 80 percent — plan to shop during the sales period this winter season, according to results of a survey released earlier this week.

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