This year’s winter and New Year sales in France will run from Wednesday, January 12 to Tuesday, February 8, 2022, except in a few cases of overriding local regulations.
Sales in France (‘les soldes’) are set nationally, as opposed to individual shops or companies choosing when to hold them.
There are two six-week national ‘les soldes’ periods per year (one in winter, and one in summer) and the dates are set by law.
Shop owners must display the original price of the item as well as the sale price so you can be sure you are getting a genuine deal. Shops can hold other sales throughout the year with dates of their choice but only for a maximum of two weeks.
The rules on sales also apply to internet-based firms, and for internet purchases from French firms you also benefit from an automatic 14 days from receipt to return goods if you change your mind, whether they are on sale or not (some items are excluded, so make sure you check before purchase).
For physical goods bought in-store, some shops may be stricter than usual about refunding or exchanging sales items if you have simply changed your mind, so it is important to check.
In four departments – Meuse, Moselle, Meurthe-et-Moselle and Vosges – the sales have different dates and have already started (on Monday, January 3) and are set to last until January 29.
This is because just over 10 years ago, this region (the former Lorraine region) successfully petitioned for its sales to start earlier, to allow them to compete with neighbouring country Luxembourg, whose sales also started on Monday.
Jérôme Pinard, director of the Marques Avenue factory outlet in Talange (Moselle), told Le Figaro: "It is important to be in sync with our border friends, to allow our local customers to also benefit from the sales in our shops and to avoid seeing our customers leave to spend elsewhere.”
This year’s national sales are likely to be as popular as ever in France, especially after a run-up to Christmas in which 48% of the public said they felt less financially flush, according to a December 2021 report by Viavoice for HEC Paris, Le Figaro and BFM Business.