PARIS — Despite the terror attacks that hit Paris in 2015, clothing sales in France showed some resilience.
Sales of women’s ready-to-wear were flat in 2015 versus the previous year, with French women spending 10.8 billion euros, or $11.99 billion at average exchange, on clothing. Comparable store sales were down 0.4 percent.
All clothing sales, including men’s wear and children’s wear, was up 0.2 percent, according to the provisional data released by the French Women’s Ready-to-Wear Federation. Men’s wear rose 0.9 percent, and children’s wear decreased 1.1 percent.
“2015 would have been the year of the rebound without the attacks in November and the springlike [winter] weather,” François-Marie Grau, the federation’s managing director, told a press conference on Wednesday.
“Six months ago, we were forecasting growth between 0.5 and 1 percent for the year.” The outlook for 2016 is 1.6 percent growth. Grau cited factors such as the low interest rates, the low euro and low oil prices, also noting that the recent turbulence in the financial markets is raising concerns.
Sales at department stores grew by 1 percent, with the channel representing 6.3 percent of the business in 2015.
“We were hit to a lesser extent than the other [industries],” Grau told WWD. “Department stores were the most likely to be impacted [in the wake of the Nov. 13 attacks] given that their clientele consists in two thirds of foreign visitors. Yet, they managed to get by.”
The Internet accounted for 16.3 percent of the women’s clothing sales in 2o15, up from 4.3 percent in 2008 and 14.5 percent in 2014.
French consumers adopted new consumption patterns. This was reflected in the increase of swaps, second-hand purchases and resales.
In 2015, sales and promotional events accounted for 45.2 percent of the women’s apparel sales, a historic high.
The proportion of purchases made during the official sales periods was down 6.4 percent.
Exports were up for the sixth year in a row, increasing by 6.7 percent to surpass three billion euros, or $3.33 billion at average exchange. Exports jumped by 40.1 percent to China, by 42.2 to South Korea, while they fell by 30.4 percent to Russia and by 28 percent to Japan. In March, the Federation is planning to open an office in Hangzhou, home of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.