Dates and rules for the 2024 summer sales in France

Shops can sell products at a loss… but must follow certain other guidelines

Shoppers can start bargain hunting from next week
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France’s summer sales – les soldes d’été – are set to begin next week, giving savvy shoppers the chance to grab a bargain. 

The sales will start on Wednesday June 26, and run until Tuesday July 23.

Each year, France hosts summer and winter sales periods during which shops can sell items at a loss – the only time they are able to do so – helping them destock before articles for the next season begin to arrive. 

The sales seasons used to each last six weeks but in 2020 the rules were changed to reduce the time period to four weeks.

Shops may start hosting ventes privées (private sales) slightly earlier, which allows some customers to benefit from knock-down prices, for example if they are part of a shop’s loyalty programme.

This helps them get first look at the items on sale, and guarantee a chance to purchase them before shops run out of stock. 

Unlike last winter’s sales period, all mainland French departments will have the same calendar to follow this summer. 

Note that Corsica has a summer sales period with slightly different dates, running between July 10 and August 6. 

Other overseas departments and territories also have different four-week periods, based on their location and local economy. 

Read more: Explainer: Les soldes d’été, France’s regulated summer sales

What are the main rules of the summer sales?

Products go through various stages of démarques (price reductions) throughout the sales period, starting at around 20% and dropping by up to 50% by the end. 

It is not only chain brands and independent shops that engage in the sales, but also online retailers and e-commerce sites. 

The main rule is that products must have already been on sale for at least one month at their normal price before being reduced during the sales period.

Shops must also clearly label which products are included in the sales, either online or via physical labelling or messaging in a shop.

Items purchased on sale can usually only be returned if there is a fault or defect, otherwise for general exchanges shops are at liberty to refuse to take the item back. 

Read more: Can I get a refund or exchange on an item bought in sales in France?