Schrijf je in voor onze dagelijkse nieuwsbrief om al het laatste nieuws direct per e-mail te ontvangen!

Inschrijven Ik ben al ingeschreven

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

Consumption in French stores fell by -3,8% in April

In April, the performance of stores in the specialized retail sector in France saw a significant decline of -3.8% compared to April 2023. This follows a dynamic March that had uplifted the spirits of industry players. Various exogenous factors impacted April's performance, primarily the shift in vacation schedules between 2023 and 2024. Additionally, Easter, which was in March 2023 but fell in April this year, affected activity distribution in sectors like specialized food, which had a strong March but a weak April.

Several sectors experienced contractions: specialized food (due to the Easter shift), clothing (-6.4%) affected by unfavorable weather, home equipment (-3.5%) continuing its struggles, and minor declines in dining (-1.5%), sports (-2.5%), and culture-gifts-toys (-1.5%). On the other hand, the beauty-health sector continued its dynamic trend with a +3.7% increase, albeit less robust than in previous months. Optical sales remained stable (+2.4%), and footwear (+0.8%) performed better than clothing.

© Dreamstime.

Internet sales in April (+8.6% on average for specialized retail) outpaced physical stores, particularly in beauty, sports, and culture-gifts-toys sectors. Cumulatively, after the first four months of 2024, specialized retail store activity remained flat compared to the previous year (+0.1%), lagging behind the estimated inflation rate of +2.1%, indicating a slight decrease in in-store sales volumes. Significant declines were noted in clothing (-3.1%) and, to a lesser extent, in footwear (-1.2%), sports, and dining.

During the same period, web sales for specialized retail brands increased by +5.1% compared to the same period in 2023. Notably, in the sports sector, the significant increase in web sales (+5.1%) supported the combined in-store and web sales, which saw a positive growth of +1.5%. Overall, the combined activity of specialized retail (stores plus web) saw a marginal increase of +1.4%, still below the inflation rate.

April's activity and the cumulative four-month data indicate no significant rebound in consumption despite the easing of food price inflation. Consumer habits formed during the high-inflation period persist, and household confidence remains very low, even slightly declining in April according to INSEE.

This challenging consumption period, marked by rising operational costs, particularly rent and wages, necessitates adaptability and a positive mindset for retailers. The upcoming European elections on June 9 and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, along with significant holidays in May, will further impact consumer behavior. INSEE's latest forecasts suggest an increase in real wages (+3.3% for wages, +2.1% for inflation), potentially boosting purchasing power and consumer trends by the end of 2024. Retailers must remain adaptable and optimistic to navigate these uncertainties effectively.

Source: Procos

Publication date: