BREAKING NEWS! This Wednesday, the Summer Sale starts in France. YES! For us “professional shoppers”, let the fun begin. Why is this a big deal? In the U.S., there are sales every day. Macy’s has one sale after another. I used to spend days and weeks buying and returning things to Macy’s. It was therapy for me. Haha. When I was in Law School, I would browse and buy in Marshall’s to relieve the pressure. You think I am kidding? The sales and deals were rampant. Steve and I would laugh at local businesses in Westwood, posting “going out-of-business sales” and leaving signs up for years – for instance, a furniture store and an antique store on the corners of Sepulveda and La Grange.
It is different in France. The dates when stores can have big sales are regulated by law. That’s right – LAW. There are only two times a year when French shops are legally allowed to sell items for less than cost and use the word “Soldes” in their windows and ads – January (Soldes d’Hiver) and July (Soldes d’Ete). Like our “Black Friday” or Nordstrom’s Half-Yearly Sale. The markdowns are huge. The dates vary from year to year and from regions to region, but here on the Riviera, the 2017 Sale was January 11 – February 21. And the Summer Sale starts on Wednesday, June 28, lasting until August 8, 2017. Each sales period lasts six weeks.
The stores can only sell the current inventory on hand. They are not allowed to bring in merchandise especially for sales. Prices are reduced on what is in the shop, even in the major designer label stores like Chanel, Christian Dior, and Louis Vuitton. They all drop their prices. That is also true at stores selling building materials and supplies. The markdowns get deeper as the weeks go on. Steve and I bought our big television set (featured below) during Soldes d’Hiver in 2016.
I bought my Ralph Lauren orange blazer (featured below) during Soldes d’Ete in July 2016. Prices were slashed on both.
The savings during this time are usually 30-50%. Sometimes as high as 70% as the sale period goes on. So, at the beginning, you have inventory selection, but by the end, slashed prices. Problem is – you cannot return anything. Well, not true. You can return and get store credit, but not your money back. Maybe. Depends on the store. But, that policy seems to be in place all the time in most stores. I have found out the hard way. The French have little patience with returns.
A lot of the stores are now open on Sundays. That’s relatively new. Sunday – the sacred family day in France – is a day when EVERYONE goes to the Park by my house. So, if you have the desire and the money to shop on Sunday, that is when you get the sales without the crowds at Galeries Lafayette, H&M and Zara, and shopping centers like Nice Etoile, Cap3000 and the Polygon Riviera. All of those are now open seven days a week during the sales period.
Frankly, between you and me, I try to stay OUT of the stores. I always see and want more than I can afford. And, if I have a weak moment – which is just about all of the time I am in the store – and impulsively buy an Armani jacket (my favorite designer) on sale (which I did not too long ago because there was a sign in the window that said, “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS”), I cannot take it back (which I wanted to do the next day when it was too late). I don’t dare go back into that shop during July or August.