PARIS — Online sales are benefiting from French consumers’ reluctance to visit shopping malls and department stores in the wake of a series of deadly terrorist attacks, according to French online private sales site BrandAlley.
The e-tailer said it registered a 20 percent jump in revenues in the first week of the winter sales, which were launched on Jan. 7, the same day terrorists attacked the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people and setting off a chain of related attacks that left five more dead.
Cyril Andrino, chief executive officer of BrandAlley, said the rise in turnover was partly due to high inventories following an exceptionally mild winter that allowed it to offer deeper-than-usual discounts at the start of the sale. However, the dramatic attacks by heavily armed gunmen also played a role, he added.
“Because of the attacks, people stayed at home or did not leave their offices,” Andrino said. “As a result, BrandAlley registered big spikes in traffic during this dramatic period and the vast majority of people shopped the sales over the Internet.”
French flash-sale pioneer Vente-privee.com and men’s wear e-tailer menlook.com both declined a request by WWD to provide sales figures for the period.
As reported, foot traffic at shopping centers in the Paris region fell 12.2 percent year-on-year between Jan. 7 and 11, compared with a 7.8 percent drop nationwide, data from the National Council of Shopping Centers showed. Footfall plummeted 18.2 percent on Friday and was down 17 percent on Sunday, it added.
Nationwide, revenues on the first weekend of the sales were down 8.3 percent, according to a survey by market research and data collection firm Toluna for retail trade publication LSA. An estimated 3.7 million people marched across France on Sunday to commemorate the victims and defend freedom of expression.
The climate of insecurity has raised concerns that tourists could shun the French capital, which was the number-one city worldwide for tax-free shopping in 2014, according to data provided by Global Blue, which tracks activity in 37 markets.
Later this month, Paris will host the twice-yearly couture and men’s wear shows, and it is likely that security will be reinforced at the entrance to the respective venues.