French shoe retailers enjoyed their fourth month of year-on-year higher sales in December. They stood 7 percent above the level reached in December 2004, with the shoe boutiques and similar operations recording an increase of 9 percent and self-service specialty shoe stores rising by only 4 percent.

These results capped a year in which the country’s total consumption is expected to have reached more than 340 million pairs, with a volume increase of 4-5 percent and the total value up by 1-2 percent, scoring better than some other sectors of the retail market. Weather conditions were positive, the demand for boots remained high, affecting also the men’s and the sports shoe segments, and many new stores were opened in the country.

However, the domestic output of the French shoe industry fell by 19 percent to 43 million pairs in 2005, according to preliminary figures, as more firms outsourced abroad. French shoe companies saw their overall sales decline by about 9 percent to an estimated €1.2 billion. Their exports increased by about 2 percent in volume to 53 million pairs, and their value rose by 3 percent. Imports increased by 9 percent in volume, with the average price declining by 2 percent.