After more than a month of discounted prices, Monaco’s ready-to-wear clothes shops have tallied up the takings. As the sales’ window comes to a close, the high street has been pleasantly surprised.

Whilst Covid-19 may have cancelled many plans, it did not prevent shoppers from hunting out a bargain. Winter sales in Monaco are coming to an end this Sunday, but it seems ready-to-wear clothes stores have made considerable profits in spite of the health crisis. Due to the financial problems experienced this past year, business owners have been relying on the winter sales to help them recover. Shops may not have been bursting at the seams with customers, but enough purchases were made to keep tills ticking over.

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Monaco’s traders were ahead of their neighbours, slashing their prices three weeks earlier than French stores. People turned out in force, some even came from across the border. Axelle Gomise Omodella, sales advisor for the men’s clothing brand Morgan, explained how “we were expecting much worse, but then again you have to remember that Monaco is a small town so there are loyal customers here.” Although the turn-out was better than expected, numbers did tail off towards the end of the day as customers had to make it home before the evening curfew.

Reducing the prices of semi-luxury items, so quickly and so steeply, doesn’t look good for the brand.

High street stores bring a sense of normality back

Prices were cut much faster than in previous years. Tags boasting as much as 80% off could be seen in window displays, in an effort to drum up business and entice customers. As well as sales, some places were advertising special offers such as “an extra 20% off for every two items bought”, according to saleswoman Chaïma Darouich, speaking on behalf of the brand Sandro.

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Just a few doors down from here is Banana Moon, another store that constantly knocked down prices to entice more buyers. Such steep discounts proved appealing and footfall did increase. Not quite so many customers ventured inside as in previous years, but sales assistant Alexia was still delighted by the figures. On Wednesday 3 February, 52 people were counted indoors at around 3pm.

According to Maria Pinto, who is in charge of the brand Tara Jarmon, “reducing the prices of semi-luxury items, so quickly and so steeply, doesn’t look good for the brand.” Whether this is true or not, it proved to be a lucrative strategy, as many clients were drawn in by the discounts.

People are getting tired of all these restrictions, they want to go out and enjoy themselves.

Customers are trying to enjoy themselves

After a year or reliving groundhog day, everyone is searching for a hint of normality and a means of escape. The 2021 winter sales brought some fun back to the Principality. Going shopping, feeling the materials, trying on different items and buying new outfits was a welcomed form of release, a view shared amongst shop owners. Christine Sergent spoke on behalf of the clothes chain Maje, highlighting how “people are getting tired of all these restrictions, they want to go out and enjoy themselves.” She too is hoping that a brighter future is on the horizon.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the ready-to-wear fashion industry has seen numerous changes in consumer habits. People’s needs have altered and online shopping has become more popular, as has buying second-hand clothing. As a result of lockdown and travel restrictions, spending more time indoors has meant sales for certain garments has dropped. “Since people are not going out as often anymore, we have had real trouble selling dresses this year” explains Maria Pinto. Tara Jarmon added to this sentiment, detailing how “customers want to buy comfortable things they can wear every day.” After having so much difficulty shifting stock, traders capitalised on the winter sales, seizing an opportunity to adapt and breath new life onto the shop floor.

Translated by Meg Johnson