Market and trends: price+ brands + leisure activities

{Factory stores capture 2.3 % of the French clothing and shoe market and represent a little more than 1% of the turnover achieved by the retail sector. This distribution channel therefore remains marginal, even if we can consider that it has found its customer base.}

{{Distribution among men, women and socioprofessional categories}}
_ Originally confined to seconds and ends of series, the array of products offered in factory stores has widened and the ranges have greatly increased, attracting a much wider palette of consumers. People with average purchasing power have been joined by those with high purchasing power who, up until recently, were, first and foremost, customers of town centre stores. In Troyes, the average purchase basket is 208 €.

{{The fashion effect}}
_ The desire to consume in these centres is maintained by fashion and the feeling that the concept is rare. Fashion awareness is more noticeable on the women’s market than on the men’s market. Today a woman of 60 years wishes to dress fashionably, In just two years some products can be considered to be out of fashion and, whatever the reduction, will not find a purchaser.

{{Greater volume}}
_ Consumers tend to purchase less expensive clothing. The opening of a new retail outlet generates a necessary reduction in sales by other retail outlets. Consumers demand clear rules guaranteeing in the brand centres the presence of products with real information.

{{Shops and leisure activities}}
_ For many, the future of factory stores is based on an alliance between stores and leisure activities. Consumers increasingly wish to enjoy themselves when they make their purchases one to three times a year. This is why brand centres are appearing near large leisure centres or offer, themselves, fun, sports or cultural activities.

{{The brand and the price}}
_ Consumers are seeking an attractive brand at a competitive price. Operators must offer a balanced selection of brands of world renown, brands linked to a fashion phenomenon and more or less prestigious brands that generate visits…

{{Risks and opportunities}}
_ The questions prompted by the installation of a factory store are linked to a number of issues: territorial planning, urbanism, consumers’ rights and the right to competition. Factory stores today pose the same problems as hypermarkets in the past: major growth over twenty years, negative impact on traditional retailers and town centres. The majority of the projects launched in France are also perceived as challenges in the area of local development and territorial stability: a factor in territorial planning, attractiveness, economic development, job creation and trade tax, or a danger for local traditional retailers.

{{Rare or commonplace}}
_ Should we tighten regulations on the installation and extension of brand centres to prevent them becoming commonplace, thus weakening the concept? The existence of too many factory stores could indeed generate their decline and that of brands. By having recourse to them to sell off excess stock, isn’t there the risk that industrialists will destabilise other forms of distribution?

{{Specificity or generalisation}}
_ Can articles other than clothing and household equipment be concerned by this type of distribution?
_ Must projects for such installations be limited to regions that can justify a strong industrial tradition (Roubaix, Troyes, Romans, Cholet, etc.), as certain local elected representatives demand? With, as a result, a ban on any installation in areas that do not have the right due to economic, geographic and historical reasons, although they have a high tourist potential, for instance southern and south-western France?

{{Town centre or outskirts}}
_ At present town centres are no longer as attractive as in the past. In France clothing consumption is marking a downward trend, which means that new factory stores could lead to a transfer of customers from the town centres to these new structures. The challenge consists in strengthening town centres’ power to attract in order to direct the flow of commercial tourists in their direction.
_ In Troyes, we were able to see the negative and positive effects.
_ In personal equipment, the impact on traditional retailers (in particular on retailers in Troyes town centre) has been spectacular. A real shock wave followed the creation of brand centres on the outskirts. This was expressed in a devitalisation of independent retailers, weakened at the same time (as in all French town centres) by the sudden upsurge in organised retailing (franchise outlets, branches, etc.).
The stores that closed down have been replaced by others and the greater number of service providers in the town centre’s did not prevent banners such as H&M from setting up there. Without factory stores, the town of Troyes would not have welcomed close to 2 million visitors in 15 years in its town centre. This commercial tourism has been joined by cultural tourism due to the town’s historical attractions.

{{History or geography}}
_ The reasons for the geographic localisation of a new centre go far beyond the existence of industrial roots and a textile past: motorway links, density of tourist flows (Marne-la-Vallée), population (Paris region), local purchasing power and the proximity of a foreign market are criteria to be taken into account. It goes without saying that territories are competing today as future locations for brand centres.

{{Stocks or relocations}}
_ The selling of excess stocks tops the list of distributors’ and brand managers’ concerns. These excess stocks represent 2 or 3% of the total volume of the market and between 0.7 and 10% of the volume of the products diffused according to the brands and banners.
_ Three possibilities are offered to a firm that wishes to get rid of its excess stock: destruction of the products, sale to discount stores or sale in factory stores. Factory stores offer the firm the advantage of controlling the distribution and, therefore, protecting the brand and the distribution network.

-* Brand stores are raking it in!
-* Brand centres: What performance for what market?
-* Brand centres in France: How are they evolving?
-* Brand centres: « Risks and consequences of their development?» (…)

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