SALE AWAY: French actress-cum-model Lou Doillon is donning an ambassador cap for the third run of the “Soldes by Paris” (“Sales by Paris”) sales initiative that today kicks off the nation’s five-week-long sales period. The three-day event, organized by Paris’ Chamber of Commerce, and copromoted by retailers including Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, promotes themed shopping circuits, from “chic” to “offbeat,” for foreign visitors to the city, with some 3,000 retailers participating. The percentage of clothing sales made during France’s sales periods has risen steadily over the past decade, according to the French Fashion Institute, representing 17.1 percent of total sales last year compared with 10.9 percent in 1998. Several brands, including Renaud Pellegrino and the troubled mail-order giant La Redoute, are expected to discount stock by 70 percent during the sales, while Printemps, whose holiday sales were reportedly hampered by a bomb scare mid-December, is expected to reduce certain articles by up to 80 percent.
Meanwhile, amidst anemic clothing sales in France (down 4.6 percent in November, according to the French Fashion Institute), politicians are engulfed in a polemic over Sunday shopping. While opinion polls show a majority of the French population is in favor, France’s National Assembly has postponed indefinitely the examining of the bill proposing to extend the number of Sunday openings.