What does the retail ready-to-wear profession cover?

The retail ready-to-wear women clothing activity consists of selling so-called outerwear (jackets, coats, shirts, dresses, skirts, pants, etc.) and knitwear (lingerie, shirts, hosiery) intended for male, female or children’s customers. It is common for the trader to also sell fashion accessories (gloves, ties, suspenders, jewelry, etc.)

Some retail businesses offer an alteration service.

What is the INSEE code for ready to wear women clothing retail?

This close includes businesses in the retail trade in fabric, fabric or fur articles of clothing and in the retail trade in clothing accessories such as gloves, ties, suspenders and belts. Second hand stores are excluded from this code.

How to access the profession?

Access to the profession is free and is conditional on registration in the Trade and Companies Register (RCS).

The opening of a shop with a sales area exceeding 1,000 m2 (with some exceptions) requires obtaining a commercial operating license from the departmental commercial development commission (CDAC) which is located within Prefecture.

The turnover of retail clothing in specialized stores

According to data from INSEE, the turnover of retail clothing in specialized stores increased in 2013, both in value and in volume. However, volume growth has been close to zero over the past three years. The increase in value was therefore mainly driven by the (slight) rise in prices.

Faced with the decline in clothing sales and the strengthening of competition in the sector, distributors are multiplying their initiatives, in particular by expanding their offer to new customer targets and by exploring new distribution methods to adapt to new ones consumption behavior of the French.

Online sales of ready-to-wear

According to the IFM, the French Fashion Institute, e-commerce continued to gain ground in 2013, with 13% of online spending (compared to 11.8% in 2012):

With the exception of those over 65, all age groups have made more than 10% of their clothing purchases on the Internet, mainly 25/44 year olds, with nearly 20% of their purchases made via this channel.

A major trend in recent years is the “web-to-store”, which allows independent networks to overcome obstacles to online sales, especially in terms of logistics. This operation allows consumers to view inventory and reserve a product online, then pick it up in store.

After the strong growth in the number of online clothing sales sites, the development of mobile merchant applications has also enabled the growth of e-commerce and m-commerce (mobile commerce) in recent years. The objectives of these systems are as follows:

  • Improve customer satisfaction;
  • Increase the retention rate;
  • Create traffic to the store.

The commercial margin

Purchases of goods constitute the main expense item for professionals in the distribution of clothing:

The supply is done directly (manufacturers or wholesalers of the brands) for the independents and passes through the purchasing centers of the networks for the chains. However, networks of specialized chains, mail order and generalist supermarkets are increasingly turning to product design (creation of models, choice and purchase of materials) or even to manufacturing;

In addition, for several years these brands have favored sourcing in Asia, where labor is cheaper.

The financing of stocks, whose turnover is long, weighs on the results of ready-to-wear companies. Inventory management is difficult and largely depends on the strong seasonality of sales.

Shrinkage should be tackled, namely the difference between the theoretical stock and the stock resulting from the physical inventory carried out in the warehouse. It corresponds to the percentage of turnover corresponding to the cost of stolen products.


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