Hip hooray – the annual summer sales (les Soldes) started last week. The sales; both summer and the winter season in January, are highly anticipated events because a) there are serious discounts and b) the sales don’t happen any old time. The sale dates are just one part of the trading laws regulated by the French government. (Remember – bureaucracy is a French word.) Stores can only have a sale at other times with permission, and I gather the sale must be for a reason such as a special promotion of something, although with the economic crisis apparently more leeway has been allowed.
This summer-sale season runs from 26 June to 30 July. Bargains start at 30% off and as the sale time progresses items become more and more discounted. Some items start out at a higher discount; 40% or 50% off, even more if you are lucky. So the strategic shopper must plan carefully and weigh up the risk of missing out versus holding on for a better bargain. The first days were hectic; crowds of locals and tourists joined in the queues. But as a seasoned strategic shopper I had planned ahead and tried on a few things in advance so that I could avoid the change room melee.
I’d had my eye on a jacket and some trousers; I now own them, the discount met my pre-determined buy/wait equation and, well, there was a gorgeous coral coloured top that was unplanned but will be terribly useful for the upcoming beach holiday. That’s shopping serendipity! I can recommend the pleasure of sales shopping; there are some wonderful bargains especially as the spring/summer weather here has been a bit of a fizzer so far, and this is the fashion capital after all.
The high end stores have sales too, but are more discreet in their promotion. Window shopping last weekend on Rue Faubourg Saint Honore I noticed a small elegant sign placed in the shop window advising the price of the clothes on display explained that sale items were available inside. The big department stores go full on to the extent of bold neon signs to announce their sales.
One of the added attractions to entice shoppers in catered for true Parisians – those who normally take their dog out shopping with them. In the first week at BHV store, a business called Doggybox was on site to look after your dog while you shopped. Take a look here and click on the video– there’s even a chocolate lab featuring! As the man in the film says c’est chouette! Cool!