“It’s like a normal Saturday for us. There is neither massive flow, nor long queues in front of the checkouts, ”laments Céline Tobelain, manager of the Modi In clothing store, in Toulouse. A fortnight after the start of the summer sales, the managers note “a considerable drop in attractiveness”. Traders are still paying the consequences of the successive confinements which have slowed down their activity. Some also point to “current inflation” to explain this drop in attendance, and others prefer to see “a more responsible clientele”. “Customers are more aware of their purchases from an ecological point of view. They are now looking to buy out of need and no longer out of cravings, as before,” observes Mathieu Aoustin, director of the Clémentine clothing store.
Is buying fever a thing of the past? “The sales period no longer exists. Now, it’s a matter of long-term groundwork. It is better to offer average prices all year round and some soft promotions during the sales,” says the manager of Modi In. According to her, many customers entered the store without even knowing that it was the sales. “We can no longer count on the sales with such a lack of enthusiasm,” she regrets. In any case, it is a “cautious and unenthusiastic” clientele that Toulouse traders have liberalized at the start of the sales.
“A mixed record and an uncertain tomorrow”
None of the merchants had planned for additional staff. No sales target had been set. But, for Laure Valax, manager of the Pipia et Compagnie clothing store, rue des Filatiers, it is “a loyal clientele for twenty years” that allows her “to fall back on her feet each time”. “Obviously, you have to adapt and modify some sales techniques,” she explains. “For example, before each sales period, we indicate pre-sales with low prices to stimulate shopping pleasure. “Positive and satisfied”, the manager welcomes this first assessment. For other traders, such as Michel Montaud, manager of the Manfield shoe store, “the first days were very hard. We had a few good days but the next day remains uncertain. My track record is mixed. »
The fierce competition of e-commerce
This lack of love for the sales is also explained by “an overflow of online promotions all year round”, according to Toulouse merchants. Indeed, it is with nostalgia that the manager of Manfield observes that “sales on the internet have caused the loss of this effervescence and this pleasure of purchase”. But it is a question of taking advantage of this digital competition, according to him. “Since we also started our online sales, orders have poured in,” says Mr. Montaud, who sold eight pairs of shoes online in a few hours.
In the photos: The Pipia et Compagnie and Modi In shops, during the sales period in Toulouse. – Credit: Marjorie Angelvy-ToulÉco.