PARIS — The French government said Wednesday it will propose a law shortening the duration of France’s biannual sales to four from six weeks.
The change is expected to take effect in 2019, in order to give professionals time to make provisions, according to a statement from the Finance Ministry published on the first day of the winter sales.
Retailers and other fashion industry players welcomed the move.
“We are satisfied with this measure,” said Pierre Pellarey, who directs the Printemps department store on Boulevard Haussmann. Executives at neighboring Galeries Lafayette concurred, saying the measure had been expected.
The French Federation of Women’s Ready-to-Wear has long campaigned for a shortening of the calendar.
“We are happy about this decision because the sales were too long and the last weeks frankly weren’t helpful — it’s better to tighten them into a shorter period in order to drum up more activity in the stores,” noted Pierre-François Le Louët, the head of the federation.
Le Louët said even with the new measure on the way, the country allows too many periods for promotions or discounts that do not fall into the realm of the official sales period, which is hard on smaller specialty stores as they struggle to compete with larger retailers.
The government also said it is considering instigating Black Friday-type events outside of the official sales periods, which will last two or three days on a national level. These are expected to further stimulate business.
The government’s Commission de Concertation du Commerce (or the Commission of Business Dialogue, also called 3C) is overseen by William G. Koeberle, vice president of 3C and president of the Council of French Business, who heard industry players’ positions on the shortening of dates.
Discussion points included private sales and promotions that last year-round and the rise of e-commerce, which have diminished the visibility of official sales periods, the government said. Koeberle has given his report resulting from the talks to France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.
In 2018, for most of France, winter sales began on Wednesday and are set to end on Feb. 20. Summer sales are scheduled to kick off on June 27 and run through Aug. 7.