Prime Minister Jean Castex visits a hairdressing salon in Reims, November 28, 2020. -
Gutner / SIPA / SIPA
The so-called "non-essential" businesses reopened at the end of November, after a month of closure.
While merchants are looking forward to working again, they are not seeing a massive influx of customers.
The new sanitary measures could also slow down the urge to shop.
They were impatiently waiting to reunite with their customers, in order to make up for the time and turnover lost during containment.
Almost a week after the reopening of “non-essential” businesses, what conclusions can be drawn?
While it is too early to have precise figures, the federations and representatives contacted by
are clear: even if long queues were visible in front of some stores last Saturday, not all the stores were taken. 'assault.
Among hairdressers, for example, "the lifts are very variable," explains Christophe Doré, president of the National Union of Hairdressing Companies (Unec).
“If the recovery is taking place in good conditions throughout the country, it is still complicated in some places,” he continues.
For example, salons set up next to service sector companies have fewer customers, because many have remained teleworking ”.
For Yohann Petiot, Managing Director of the Alliance du commerce (450 brands, including Galeries Lafayette, Celio, and even André), the results are also mixed.
“According to the Retail Int. Panel, which represents 50 brands and 10,000 stores in France, footfall last weekend is down 40% compared to the same period in 2019, he says.
"The positive point," is that the turnover is down "only" by 23%, which means that the conversion rate is quite good: when customers enter a store, they know what they are going to buy and they are buying ”.
Certain specialized stores, such as those of toys, nevertheless pulled out of the game. At JouéClub, for example, the turnover of last weekend is the same as that of 2019: “It is encouraging, because the year last, it was the weekend of Black Friday [shifted this year to December 4, ie this Friday], explains to BFM Business Franck Mathais, the spokesperson of the sign.
Here we are in a completely different context ”.
Afraid to stand in line?
The stores have indeed had to implement a reinforced sanitary protocol: the gauge is now 8 m2 per customer, and large sales areas are obliged to have a counting system at the entrance.
"In large shopping centers, these gauges can put off customers who fear having to queue," notes Yohann Petiot.
Other traders reported a drop in attendance linked to the 20-kilometer travel limit around the home.
"There is a clientele that (usually) comes from Limoges, Poitiers, Périgueux, Angoulême, La Rochelle, Dax ... Without it, we are missing 50% of the clients", assured at the end of November Christian Baulme, president of the Ronde des Quartiers, in Bordeaux at the microphone of Europe 1.
Even if the recovery is therefore experienced very differently depending on the type of stores, the representatives of the traders agree that the month of December will not be enough to absorb the losses linked to the forced closure during the two lockdowns.
“People are not going to have their hair cut twice in a month, illustrates Christophe Doré.
In addition, anything that is weddings or parties is still prohibited and weighs on our activity ”.
If he remains hopeful for 2021, he is still realistic: “there will be business failures and layoffs.
Some hairdressing salon owners have not paid themselves for months.
The priority is to avoid a third confinement at all costs ”.
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