In the rue des Tourneurs, shopping artery of the Pink City, one week after the reopening of the shops -
B. Colin / 20 Minutes
A week ago, non-essential businesses reopened in France.
In Toulouse, customers, often loyal ones, are back.
Those who are doing well are often the stores that have passed the shift to e-commerce and click & collect.
Three weeks before Christmas, this Thursday in the streets of Toulouse, we are far from the euphoria of other years.
But, less than a week after having reopened, the “non-essential” shops in the city center still relish reconnecting with a clientele that is gradually becoming disconnected.
“Saturday was the buzz, people were giving their Christmas presents like they were going to run out of time.
It was like December 23, the "provident team" was in stress, "jokes Faustine, the owner of the Bobinette children's shop, located on rue des Tourneurs.
For a month, she managed to maintain a link with them, thanks to click & collect and online sales.
A website that she launched last year and which played a key role during this second confinement.
And even today, "they do scouting before and at 80% they know what they want when they come," continues the young woman who wants to remain positive, even if the health crisis has called into question her project. extension of premises and maintenance of two jobs.
These are also the faithful that Diana sees pass in the ephemeral store "Le Souk", a branch of the concept store Katie Nat open only two weeks before the reconfinement.
“It must be said that technically, we are still in a period of confinement and I find it hard to see people making a certificate to go for a stroll.
Customers get straight to the point.
We sell evening wear here, and some customers find it difficult to plan for the Christmas holidays, hesitate to buy, not knowing if they will be held, ”says the young woman.
On the other hand, there is one object that she has no difficulty in disposing: the silk satin masks in various colors.
"We say to ourselves that it's crazy to see that some people are going to offer masks at Christmas, to put them at the foot of the tree," Diana says with a smile.
The digitalization train
Since last Saturday, she has seen people who are happy to renew social ties.
And refuses to imagine a new closure in the event of a new wave.
A scenario that Lison, bookseller at Privat, does not dare to imagine either.
For some, the closing of bookstores was seen as an injustice.
“The emulation around independent bookstores has worked.
People who were sensitive to these questions are even more so and we found that they were happy to come back, ”insists the one who guides and informs readers.
The pleasure of customers to find the doors of their store open, Benoît Ramus has also noted.
This Toulousain has two shops in the city center dedicated to scented candles.
“People make the effort to come and support small businesses, despite the constraints and even if the restaurants are not open.
They are as resilient as we are, ”he says.
He too had to lay off because of the closures imposed a few months apart, living the closure of "non-essentials" as "a cold shower".
At the end of the year, he expects to record a loss of turnover of 30 to 35% and explains that he has taken on more debt to keep the boat afloat.
“We take day after day, we cut corners everywhere, we have all divided our salaries.
We lost a lot in this crisis, some everything.
It's hard, but it's easier to fight when you're open, ”said the latter.
But like many of his colleagues, in recent weeks, he has been able to count on a loyal customer base and has seen orders on his site double.
Online sales, Benoît Ramus had started even before opening his shop in rue du Fourbastard.
He knows that is what made the difference with others.
“Some have not taken the digitalization train, the differentiating product.
In nine months, there has been a structural change and it's going too fast for many, ”he admits, indicating that traders are preparing to launch their own application.
Not to mention that before the health crisis, for many months, traders suffered from the demonstrations born of the "yellow vests" crisis.
The Toulouse business federation, of which Benoît Ramus is one of the active members, supports the national demand for a ban on demonstrations in certain shopping areas, in particular on Saturdays.
“I want the right to demonstrate to be respected, but our right to work to be respected too.
We are also essential, we just need to be respected a little more.
Last Saturday, the day of the recovery, we had three demonstrations.
Considering the financial state of our companies, the problem must now be solved, ”concludes the boss, who is unwilling to be ready to put out his candles for good.
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