COMPANIES & STRATEGIES - RETAIL

3 January

Slow start to the winter sales



No record crowds were seen this Monday morning as the winter sales got underway in Luxembourg. But there are still four weeks to shop at reduced prices.  (Photo: Paperjam.lu)

No record crowds were seen this Monday morning as the winter sales got underway in Luxembourg. But there are still four weeks to shop at reduced prices.  (Photo: Paperjam.lu)

Winter sales began on Monday in Luxembourg--as well as Belgium and Lorraine--but the calendar wasn’t very favourable for an immediate rush to the shops, with the start of the school year colliding with the pandemic and teleworking.

The 2022 winter sales began on 3 January in Luxembourg in a rather calm atmosphere with a similar footfall in shops to normal days in Luxembourg City and in the Belle Étoile shopping centre in Bertrange.

“It’s probably the effect of teleworking,” said a saleswoman based in the Grand-Rue, at midday. The rebound in covid-19 infections observed in recent days, combined with the return from holidays, has probably increased work from home.

Monday also saw children go back to school after two weeks of holidays. Only Belgian schoolchildren are still enjoying a week’s rest, but the winter sales have also started this Monday in the neighbouring country, as well as in Lorraine.

Between pre-sales and last minute sales

At the Belle Étoile shopping centre in Bertrange, the rush was normal on Monday morning, while in some shops, saleswomen were still busy labelling the sale items.

“We didn’t have time to do it before,” explained one of them. Shops in Luxembourg closed at 4pm on Friday 31 December, just before a weekend marked by the New Year holiday.

Others, on the other hand, anticipated the calendar by offering discounts from the end of December. This is the case, for example, of the Maroquinerie du Passage: “We worked very well with the promotions at the end of last week. Today, it’s calmer, but we know that during the sales, customers tend to look at clothes first, then shoes and finally accessories, which come next,” said owner Marc Muller. 

While a saleswoman takes care to replace the “Promotion” sign with the “Sales” sign, the shopkeeper takes a look at the figures for his three shops located in the Belle Étoile centre, in Luxembourg City and in Ettelbruck: annual sales growth varies between 15% and 35%, “but we are still below the volumes recorded in 2019.”

The retailer has completed a 2021 financial year marked by many obstacles: partial lockdown at the beginning of the year, which delayed the start of winter sales , the lower number of foreign tourists in the capital, the summer floods which forced his Ettelbruck shop to close from July to September. And finally, the demonstrations by opponents of the pandemic restrictions on the last Saturdays of the year, which slowed down the frequentation of the shops in Luxembourg City.

“But we certainly did better in 2021 than in 2020,” says the entrepreneur. The winter sales continue until 29 January in Luxembourg, giving shoppers time to come and do their shopping and retailers time to clear their stocks before the new collections arrive.

This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.