Gap announced by videoconference to its employees on Tuesday, October 20 that it intended to leave Europe: 22 stores in France and 500 employees. It is the demonstration of difficulties in the clothing sector more generally. And unfortunately there are plenty of examples.
In recent months, the clothing brands have been announcing legal reorganizations, changes in shareholders, safeguard procedures … Camaieu, The hall, André, Un Jour Ailleurs, Célio, Orchestra, Naf Naf, Absorba … Now Gap. Names that are part of our daily life as consumers and that lower the curtain. 650 stores have closed since the start of the year. The sector which employs 180,000 people in the country has lost 4,000 jobs.
These are brands that were fragile, sick, which often collapsed under a abysmal debt. Containment – which is a symptom of the crisis for these stores – has finished them.
Customers go to stores less
We set foot in stores much less. Barrier gestures greatly penalize this type of sign. At the time of deconfinement, clothing stores were one of the few local shops that had not really bounced.
On average, we spend 1/4 hour in a clothing store. Queuing on the sidewalk, trying in the cab, strolling through the shelves, it has become complicated: window shopping is difficult with a mask. Result: attendance in free fall: 17% fewer customers since the start of the year… 24.4% less activity in shopping center stores according to the Alliance du Commerce. And a further 7% drop in sales in September compared to last year.
There is also a change in consumer behavior. In fact, the virus has been dormant in the clothing industry since 2013 and the collapse of Rana Plaza, this nine-story building in Bangladesh where 1,138 workers who worked for all the major global ready-to-wear brands died. Consumers in developed countries have realized what their
consumption frenzy clothing at low prices.
Clothing became the symbol of the worst that globalization produced. Deaths on the other side of the world to feed our superfluity.
Second-hand clothes are on the rise
But have behaviors really changed on the consumer side? The coronavirus has, once again, accelerated the mutation. A few weeks ago, the Prix des Pros rewarded a young man, Davy Dao, who manufactures, in the Vosges, jeans with linen grown in the North … production locale which says a lot about the desire to bring clothing production closer to us.
Then above all, we buy less clothes and they have several lives. The site Vinted
which offers purchases between individuals of second-hand products became, in August, the 3rd e-commerce site in France. All major retailers are selling second-hand products: Leclerc, Carrefour, Auchan, System U, Ikea. Purchases of second-hand luxury goods are expected to double in the next 5 years.
We’re not just talking about a fashion for sores … There are obviously still people looking for low prices but habits are changing. You can find low prices in second-hand products that avoid overconsumption. It’s virtuous but it’s clear against the whole economic model of clothing stores.
The advantages: the French continue to save
We are close to 100 billion savings accumulated since January and we put the money on the livret A (25.76 billion euros). The French have never put so much money into this type of account in 9 months.
The score: 12/20 for the finances of the unemployment insurance
A note of encouragement. As might be expected, Unedic’s accounts are falling into the red. The organization plans to compensate 420,000 more unemployed than last year. The deficit is expected to be around 19 billion, which is amazing! But, it’s a little less than expected. This summer, we expected a loss of $ 25.7 billion. We bounced back a little better than expected after confinement.