THE SUMMER sales begin in most parts of France tomorrow - June 30 - despite complaints from several retailers that an earlier state date was needed this year.
Items in many shops will be heavily discounted, some even sold at a loss, for five weeks from 8.00 tomorrow morning until Tuesday, August 3.
The exception is in the six departments that make up the Paca region, where they start and end a week later - July 7 to August 10.
In Corsica, they are delayed by a further week - supposedly starting on the French public holiday, July 14, and running until August 17.
Several retail trade bodies in Paris said they were disappointed that the préfecture had not allowed an earlier start for the sales in the capital.
They had asked for the dates to be pushed forward because the June 30 launch date is just two days before the school holidays begin and the summer exodus from the capital for juilletistes (people who take their annual break in July).
The soldes are heavily regulated in France, with official start and end dates set each year.
They 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.
Until 2008, sales were only allowed to take place twice a year, in winter and summer.
However the government has now relaxed the regulations slightly, giving shops the freedom to choose two additional weeks in the year, called soldes flottantes (floating sales).