PARIS — Black Friday promotions didn’t help France’s apparel sector recoup its losses, according to data from the Alliance du Commerce revealed Friday.
Textiles and clothing sales in brick-and-mortar retail fell 2 percent in France in November compared with the same period in 2019, attributed to “a bad Black Friday” by the industry body, which represents 27,000 stores in the sector.
“Because of the sanitary crisis and sourcing difficulties, retailers have had to better control their stock levels,” stated Alliance du Commerce director Yohann Petiot. “This situation explains the less attractive nature of promotional offers for Black Friday and the decline in sales that week.”
Sales in the first weeks of November were flat, in line with October, the Alliance du Commerce said, while Black Friday week — which has become an increasingly important sales period in France over the past decade, before which it was practically unheard of here — declined sharply, registering a drop in sales of 9.5 percent versus November two years ago, when France was already suffering the effects of the so-called “Yellow Vests” protests on retail before the pandemic took its toll on business.
In parallel, online sales of the category have slowed — while they were up 68 percent in November compared with two years ago, they declined 38 percent on the same month a year ago, when lockdown measures boosted online sales.
Backlash over Black Friday has been growing in France, where it is criticized for inciting excess consumption. Created in 2019, the “Make Friday Green Again” collective this year included 1,200 brands, which encouraged people to “consume less but better.”
Among them, fashion players including Maison Standards and outerwear maker Aigle joined the movement this year. The latter chose to shutter all of its 48 stores and its e-commerce platform — with the exception of its resale portal — on Nov. 26 to raise awareness.
Overall, retail sales of textiles and apparel have declined by nearly 18 percent in France this year so far compared with 2019, the Alliance du Commerce said. “It’s all the more important that the market’s players succeed in December, which represents more than 10 percent of annual revenues,” commented Petiot.