I’m off to ‘faire les soldes’ (go sales shopping in France). Sales are a real event in France as, legally, shops are only allowed to have two sale periods a year. The Winter sales start on the second Wednesday in January and finish 14th February. Summer sales start on the third Wednesday in June and end 31st July.
Following reforms introduced this year, outside of these main sale periods, shops are allowed to choose a further two weeks in which they can hold their own sales. However, these may not be held in the 30 days leading up to the main sale periods.
The Soldes are the only time of the year that shops are legally allowed to sell merchandise at a loss. Retailers can run promotions at other times of the year – but the primary aim of the sales is to get rid of old stock.
For the first time this year, due to the financial crisis, Paris received special dispensation to start this winter’s sales one month earlier than usual.