Sales at French hypermarkets and supermarkets increased in January, according to the latest data from the FCD, the French retail association. Hypermarket sales were up 4.5 per cent for the month on a like-for-like basis, while supermarket revenues increased 4.6 per cent on the same period a year earlier.
The FCD said that the increase in sales was due to the impact of the January sales, which clearly drive more customers through the doors throughout the month. But they were also a result of the continued promotional efforts on the part of the main retailers, an activity which had also helped improve sales in the run up to Christmas.
Among the product segments which were the most popular during the month were beef, delicatessen and rotisserie, while the fruit and vegetable aisles were the least frequented during the period.
The exceptionally cold weather throughout the month meant that clothing sales were also boosted, although sales of multimedia, telephony and DIY products also improved.
Sales are still very strictly controlled in France, with shops in every region allowed to promote sales goods during a limited period only - four weeks in Paris and six in the rest of France. This had little bearing on revenues, however, as it was virtually the same as the previous year.
In fact, there was no difference in the number of working days in January (26, including four Saturdays) between 2002 and 2003.
The FCD also provided figures for French convenience stores in December: unchanged compared to the same month in the previous year and up 2.4 per cent for a year as a whole.