PARIS — Sales of women’s ready-to-wear have declined for the sixth straight year in France.
French women spent 10.9 billion euros, or $14.5 billion at average exchange, on clothing in 2013, a 0.7 percent decrease from 2012, according to the French Federation of Women’s Ready-to-Wear.
Because of restricted budgets, one-third of women waited for sales and promotions to purchase new clothes, up from 27 percent in 2012. As a result of this thrifty behavior, reduced-price merchandise accounted for a record 41.2 percent of total women’s clothing sales last year.
While they are buying fewer items, women are willing to invest more in staples such as jackets and blazers, which registered a 24.8 percent increase in the year, against a 4.8 percent rise in 2012. Coats were up 7.9 percent, while sales of skirts declined 14.7 percent and jeans were down 21.8 percent.
“Sales and other promotions allow women to buy better-quality items but the profusion of sales, promotions and private sales blur the concept of fair price and trigger doubts about the economic justification of the initial price of clothing,” the federation said in its annual report.
The outlook for 2014 is only marginally better, with the federation forecasting a global decline of 1.4 percent in women’s clothing sales.