“This increase impacts all households, but also retailers, who see their fixed costs jump, from rent to raw materials, from energy to suppliers”. According to LSA Conso, a media specialist in the distribution and mass consumption sector, “more than 60% of stores could increase the prices of their products this year” (fashionunited.fr, March 2022).
Taken altogether, the point is not when TCF Retail Sales will be in the red, but why they are not there yet.
Online: from a lifebelt to a new life for retail
In the absence of a specific TCF (or Footwear alone) Online Retail Sales Index in France, the WF Retail Flash has been using the overall Monthly Retail Sales Index via the internet as a proxy, considering the substantial weight of TCF in the overall index.
However, as seen before, while the TCF physical retail has been quite sensitive to the pandemic waves, immediately as of March 2020, the correlation with the overall retail via the internet was much less straightforward and not visible at all before May the same year (about 50 percentage points above the 2015 baseline).
In February 2021, just before the overall TCF index had fully returned to its normal path, the online retail index was about 40 percentage points ahead of the pre-pandemic score (at the 190-percentage points bar). Moreover, as reported before, combined stores plus web total activity was down by 1.8% in the first quarter, against (down by) 5.5% for the physical stores alone, which strongly suggests a net share gain in favour of online retail.