World Footwear


France: the main problem for footwear is the drop in demand

Jan 26, 2021 France
France: the main problem for footwear is the drop in demand
Contrary to other European countries, currently France has not imposed a lockdown, although stores have to be closed by 6pm everywhere in the country. According to the French Footwear Federation the main problem impacting the footwear sector is the drop in demand
In France, the footwear industry stopped its activities for a short period during the first wave of the pandemic (back in March-April 2020). After deploying sanitary measures, the companies resumed their activities and "today, factories have very different situations depending on their order books", tells us the French Footwear Federation.

The State of Retail

Shoe retailers (and fashion in general) are considered as “non-essential” activity by the government. So, in periods of confinement, physical shops are closed, which happened in the first wave of the pandemic and during the second wave in November. “Today, we are not in a period of confinement. But shoe stores have to respect sanitary measures (like all stores) and must be closed at 6pm everywhere in France. The French government is following the evolution of the pandemic and "may decree a new confinement in the coming days”, the French Footwear Federation states.

Support from the Government

Footwear and leather goods companies can benefit from the measures offered by the French government, such as indemnities, state-guaranteed loans, state coverage of partial unemployment, amongst others. The government also decided to shift the beginning of the end season sales: the winter sales were due to start on the 6th of January, but back in December, the Government has announced that the start date would be postponed to the 20th of January.

According to the French Footwear Federation “the main problem is the drop in demand. The pandemic has caused a fairly significant drop in consumption in all markets. Stocks are very important today, so solutions must be found to cushion this drop in activity. Manufacturers are presenting collections for the fall-winter 2022 and observe a lack of visibility on the impact of the pandemic in the coming months for their retailers”.

Footwear Industry in France

France’s small footwear industry is located predominantly in Nouvelle Aquitaine and Pays de la Loire. According to the World Footwear Yearbook (available HERE), France is the 3rd footwear importer worldwide in terms of value and the 7th exporter. Exports have been growing slowly over the last 2 years. Italy is the main destination for France’s exports, Switzerland being its fastest-growing source. Italy is also France’s main supplier of footwear.