Going through two Covid-related lockdowns, French specialty retailers saw their average sales decline by 18 percent in 2020, although their online turnover jumped by 80 percent for the year, including a growth of 85 percent in December, according to their trade association, Procos.

Shoe retailers suffered the biggest losses with sales down by 27.5 percent for the year. At the fashion stores, the rate of decline was limited to 22.7 percent. Sporting goods retailers scored the best sales performance, recording a decline of only 4.5 percent in 2020.

In December, shoe retailers enjoyed a 4.5 percent year-on-year increase in sales, but lagged behind clothing retailers, which saw sales grow by 12.7 percent, and sporting goods retailers, up by 25 percent.

Sales were boosted during the first half of December by a postponement of the Black Friday promotions, but the second half was less dynamic. In contrast with some other countries, retailers of non-essential products were allowed to reopen on Nov. 29 and to stay open through the month of December, in spite of the coronavirus pandemic. They are generally expected to stay open through the end-of-season clearance sales, whose start has been delayed to Jan. 20.