According to a study by the region’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the number of shops has decreased, especially in Paris and Hauts-de-Seine.
The Covid has hit Ile-de-France trade hard. The observation is obvious on certain arteries, such as boulevard Saint-Michel, rue de Rennes or rue de Rivoli, in Paris, particularly affected by the vacancy of shops. A recent study by the Île-de-France Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) takes stock. Between 2018 and 2021, the number of businesses fell by 1% in the region, which represents nearly 2,000 fewer businesses. In Paris (-2%) and Hauts-de-Seine (-3%), two departments very affected by the absence of tourists and teleworking, this development is particularly marked.
The Covid has accelerated the ongoing transformation of trade. Shoe and clothing stores, two sectors that have suffered for several years from competition from second-hand and the Internet, have been severely affected. Many brands have adapted to the boom in online sales, which now account for more than 20% of sales, by reducing their store base. Zara, for example, announced in 2020 its intention to close 1,200 stores worldwide. The Fast Retailing group, which owns Comptoir des Cotonniers, Princesse Tam Tam or Uniqlo, has closed more than 70 stores in France. In Île-de-France, this trend is reflected in a 14% drop in clothing stores, and 24% for shoes. But the breakthrough of e-commerce has not only wreaked havoc in clothing. Furniture stores (-14%), specialists in bedding (-40%) and household appliances (-20%) also suffered.
Priority to mobility and health
The commercial face of the city, fortunately, is being recomposed. It reflects the evolution of consumer habits. Instead of clothing, shoe or electronics stores that are closing, other types of businesses are set up. Local food businesses have been driven by the pandemic. The French went to do their food shopping near their homes, or on the internet. There are 25% more local convenience stores in Île-de-France in 2021 than in 2018. Very present in Paris, Franprix has, for example, undertaken to create a network in the territory of Greater Paris. Organic businesses grew by 13% and delicatessens by 57%.
For consumers, mobility, health and body care take precedence over personal equipment. Bicycle sales and rental stores (+47%) have flourished in recent years in Île-de-France, boosted by the explosion in the practice of cycling partly linked to the pandemic. Sports halls and play areas (+24%), nail salons (+39%) are developing strongly. The aging of the population can also be seen on store fronts. Hearing aid businesses are up 32% and personal service agencies 37%. Finally, Île-de-France has not escaped the discount wave, which is attracting more and more French people concerned about their purchasing power. Clearance stores such as Action or Normal are experiencing rapid development. Their number has increased by 115% in 2021. And it’s not over.