Spending on clothing in France has declined in all but one of the last five years and stood at €35.5 billion in 2019, €800 million smaller than in 2015. The sector’s share of spending and its share of all retail sales has been dropping. Clothing retail has been subject to some cutthroat competition. More spending has been moving online and chains such as Zara and Primark are thriving, with their winning combination of fashionability and price. Many long-standing high-street names have been struggling and the COVID-19 epidemic has proved to be the final straw for some, including several of the former market leader, Vivarte’s chains, the largest of which is La Halle. We estimate that around 13% of all spending on clothing passed online in 2019 and this may have increased to nearer 20% over 2020 as a result of two lockdowns and ongoing restrictions on society.

Key issues covered in this Report

  • The impact of COVID-19 on the clothing retail sector

  • How behaviours of clothes shoppers have changed since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak

  • The main channels used to purchase clothes and how this is evolving

  • How specialists are performing compared to non-specialists

  • The role of online and the emergence of online-only specialists.

Areas covered in this Report

This report covers the clothing retail market in France, with a focus on clothing and fashion specialist retailers. The report does not cover non-specialists, such as hypermarkets, in detail although these are looked at briefly in the consumer research section.

The report combines analysis of the market in France, including market sizes, specialists’ sales and forecasts, along with our in-depth consumer data, which analyses shoppers’ behaviour. A number of relevant company profiles are also included.

For our consumer research this year we asked questions on the following topics:

  • Participation in online and in-store shopping for clothing in the last 12 months

  • The retailers used for clothing shopping in the last 12 months.

  • Responses to a series of attitudinal and behavioural statements relating to shopping for clothing in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic.

For the purpose of this report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

Consumer spending: The total amount spent by French households (including sales tax) on clothing, via all channels, i.e. clothing shops, hypermarkets, online, at markets etc.

Retail sales: total sales of all types of goods and services (excluding sales tax) via stores and directly to the consumer (mainly online) by specialist clothing retailers. It includes online sales of these retailers where the majority of sales are in bricks and mortar outlets.

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