It was published
25 October 2023
Kiabi focuses on second-hand goods, Jacadi does not reduce its prices, Gémo sells everything from overalls to moccasins: Faced with the crisis of ready-to-wear, brands are going to war to stand out.
“In ten years, the share of clothing in the French Shopping Basket has fallen by 15%,” laments Pierre Talamon, president of the National Clothing Federation.
The ready-made clothing industry in France has been shaken by a severe crisis for more than a year. Camaïeu, Kookaï, Naf Naf, André, San Marina… These brands, well-known to French consumers, suffer from an explosive cocktail: the pandemic, inflation, the increase in production costs, rents and wages and even competition from fast food-fashion.
But some are doing well, such as Kiabi, which increased its turnover by 10% in 2022. The secret to this? Focus on second-hand (275 stores or “corners” out of 570 total offer it), but also on clothing rental and even eco-design (70% today, management says).
Sales assistant Jessica Thomas, who comes to Kiabi “once a month,” especially likes the organic cotton in the clothes.
“The quality is good for the price,” bank employee Flora Laayouni confirms with customers interviewed by AFP outside a Kiabi’s outlet in Hauts-de-Seine.
“Difference is style”
“Consumption criteria for tomorrow will necessarily include eco-responsibility,” said jury member Gildas Minvielle from the French Fashion Institute (IFM).
Another brand that is frequently mentioned for its durability is the high-end children’s brand Jacadi. The latter, going against the trends, takes responsibility for increasing its prices to reflect the increase in production costs.
His boss Cédric Dardenne, who runs a brand with a “deep-rooted brand identity” that is part of the “collective memory”, believes that “any brand that moves away from its DNA is doomed to extinction”.
Jacadi’s sales increased by 14% in 2022, reaching approximately 180 million euros.
Promod CEO Julien Pollet agrees: “When customers are more attentive to the value of the product (…) style is what makes the difference”.
“We need to strike a balance between trend and “value for money” without getting caught up in fast fashion,” explains the boss of the brand, which has an 8% growth in 2022 with a turnover of around 370 million euros.
The Gémo brand relies on its global approach to hold on to branches in case of a hard blow: its stores target the whole family. “If the child is bad, we can continue to improve the adult, and vice versa,” explains CEO Philippe Thirache.
Claiming a 7% turnover increase (906 million in 2022), the brand is developing internationally to be in “countries where there are many births and the population is increasing”, such as Gabon, Cameroon and Senegal.
The damaged brands are: [celles] He believes that “they are not very readable from a strategy perspective.”
“It’s good quality here and not too expensive,” confirms Sabrina, a customer at Gémo in Gennevilliers (Hauts-de-Seine), interviewed by AFP.
According to IFM’s Gildas Minvielle, the industry’s difficulties date back to 2015, due to a “crisis in the distribution circuit” and too many store openings saturating the market. Then there was the arrival of “major foreign players” such as Zara, H&M and, more recently, Shein.
Then there was the question of positioning, with the “midrange” being “very attractive” only when compared to the more expensive “multi-brand independents”.
But with the advent of fast fashion and discount clothing, the situation changed: when discounted items were offered at discounted prices, middle-class clothing became “too expensive compared to the quality offered.”
Written by: Sarah KHORCHI, Nicolas BOVE
Paris, 25 October 2023 (AFP)
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