Shopping is no longer in fashion and ready-to-wear must tighten its belt

Shopping is no longer in fashion and ready-to-wear must tighten its belt

Like Camaïeu, which closed its doors in Cherbourg, the clothing sector is suffering. (© Jean-Paul BARBIER)

At noon, this Tuesday, October 25th pedestrian streets of Cherbourg they have few pedestrians. Same observation, over the week. Tourists wander behind the windows at bus stops, but the shops often remain empty.

“Except Saturday, week, the city center is pretty grim ” says the merchant. Many brands in Cherbourg are struggling. “I have to say it the atmosphere is anxiety-inducing another sighs. The entire clothing sector is suffering.

In Cherbourg, yes “Because of work” some will say. But at the national level, this sector is not doing any better. Big brands have already pulled down the curtain. black and white was the latest. But André, Celio, La Halle also portray delicate financial situations. Kookaï also recently closed its doors in Cherbourg.

Complicated refund

And independents suffer from the same difficulties. “Everything is connected. So a year when it’s complicated and it’s been two years since I opened,” explains Lydie Viel of Passion Chaussure. He was there first closure due to covid, due to non-essential business. In response, of course, there were state-guaranteed grants and loans (PGE). But today we have to face it. “For example, the Urssaf contributions that have been frozen and the PGE reimbursement that is starting,” he notes Jean-Noël Degasne, President of the Commercial Court of Cherbourg.

According to Banque de France data, 700,000 businesses concluded in 2020 PGE in France for an amount of 143 billion euros. They could thus borrow up to 25% of their turnover with the option of spreading repayment over 5 years. Burden at the time of payment. Especially when business doesn’t pick up. “There have been ups but a lot of downs since the shutdown,” the trader sums up. As of December 2021, business has not resumed. “It’s even worse from price increases, especially for gasoline », agrees Magali Vigot, manager of the Esprit boutique.

There are few customers and the decline in purchasing power accentuates this phenomenon.

“When the wallet is lighter, buying clothes is obviously not a priority. »

Lydia VielManager of Shoe Passion

French morals is at half-mast. According to INSEE, the household confidence index in France is at a historically low level in September.

Videos: currently on Actu

Bills are growing

Now is not the time to shop. ” No more compulsive shopping, today you have to need it,” notes Sarah Steunou, Symbiosis store manager in Cherbourg. “Everybody’s looking at the prize today! ”, he agrees with what the traders say.

“Inflation weakens purchasing power,” warns the National Apparel Federation. He draws the last alarm bell. “Energy prices are rising very sharply. These increases come at an already critical time for merchants as fees continue to rise. »

“For the merchants who have been there for a long time, the owners of the walls, they can hold it, but for others it will be very complicated. »

Sarah SteunouSymbiosis Store Manager

It asks, like the other trade federations represented in the French Trade Council, specific government aid. “The threshold of 3% for the ratio of energy costs to turnover in 2021 excludes commercial companies, assuming that there are risks of worsening the bottom line and reducing available cash! »

New ways of consumption

Finally, apparel retailers must deal with the transformation of consumption patterns. ” Exchange and second hand are more popular in the industry,” summarizes Jean-Noël Degasne. Merchants from Cherbourg also noticed this trend.

“Since the time of incarceration, the mode of consumption has clearly changed. The internet and secondhand sites have exploded. »

Magali VigotEsprit store manager

“That is also clear it is up to us to adapt. I have my website for my local clients but I have also set up a second hand site to sell past collections. And that now represents the majority of my clientele. Thanks to that, I don’t sink,” the manager of Passion Shoe smiles sadly. According to payment observatory Natixis, second-hand sales should it jumped 140% between 2019 and 2021.

The streets of the center of Cherbourg are often too quiet for traders.
The streets of the center of Cherbourg are often too quiet for traders. (©Solene LAVENU)

Interview with Jean-Noel Degasne

and President of the Commercial Court of Cherbourg answers our questions.

News: Business failures jump 69% compared to 2021, according to the headline of several French newspapers. What about in the Cotentin?

Jean-Noel Degasne: If we compare with last year, in the Cotentin it is +127%. But the comparison is out of place. For two years now, the number of business failures has been almost zero. The companies received state aid. You have to look over six years to get a real idea. In 2022, from January to the end of August, we are at 34 failures. In 2021 for the same period there were 15, in 2020: 32, in 2019: 58, in 2018: 74 and in 2017: 62. So let’s compare with the pre-Covid period, for example in 2018, and the failure companies dropped by approximately 54%! Locally, businesses are doing well so far.

How do you see the future?

J.-ND: Unfortunately, it seems darker to me. PGE to be repaid, social debts (sometimes frozen for two years) that reappear; the price of energy that explodes, the purchasing power that decreases… All this plays a role in the balance sheet of many companies. Restaurants, bakers and all businesses that need ovens, refrigerators… will have to face a significant increase in bills. There are risks and I’m sure the consequences will be felt, companies can falter.

We are talking about big trouble, especially in the clothing sector…

J.-ND: We currently do not have a set in clothing. It is certain that the population cuts more on personal equipment such as clothes, shoes… when they take care of their budget. However, at the moment there is no specific case of trouble, the Camaïeu file has apparently not been submitted to the Court of Cherbourg. On the other hand, we have noted several closures of flower shops, otherwise the files concern sole proprietors. Sometimes they are launched on hold and ultimately fail to take off and be profitable. Entrepreneurs simply cannot make a living.

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