According to a study by CCM Benchmark Panel some 77% of consumers plan to spend at least â‚¬100 in the next few days as the sales get underway.
France holds two major sales a year, one in the summer and one in the winter. The summer sales season this year runs until the end of July across most of Normandy, although there may be some local variations.
Also the amount discounted varies from shop to shop. Generally the more the sales weeks go on and the closer it comes to the end of July, the more prices are reduced. But already there are items discount by 50%, 60% and 70% as retailers aim to shift old stock.
The bad spring weather in Normandy meant that stocks of summer clothes especially swimwear and sandals have not sold well. Retailers hope that the sunny weather this week and the end of the school term next week will encourage shoppers to splash out.
â€˜There has never been a worse season for 30 years. Since the beginning of the year sales are down by up to 15%,â€™ said Bernard Morvan of the National Federation de Lâ€™habillement which represents independent retailers.
According to the Institute of French Fashion sales of clothing fell by 10% last month compared with May 2012. One major retailer blames the weather. â€˜The shops are overflowing with stocks of T-shirts, tops, shorts, mini dressed and swimsuits,â€™ said Aude Moussac of fashion firm Kurt Salmon.
According to pollsters Ipos people are likely to spend less in the sales this summer than last year. Its latest survey suggests an average of â‚¬208 compared with â‚¬223 last year.
Sales are highly regulated in France, even the dates are set down in law. According to consumer groups the two sales seasons are the only time of the year that shops are legally allowed to sell merchandise at a loss. Retailers can run promotions at other times of the year but the main aim of the sales is to get rid of old stock.
Items bought in a sale have the same guarantees as any other items bought at any other time. If the item is found to be defective the shop is obliges to refund it or replace it but if there is no fault then it is a matter for individual enterprises. When it comes to electrical goods then a shop will often take it back to check that there is indeed a defect before offering a refund.
Items included in a sale must have been on sale at full price for at least one month before the start date of the sales period and sale items and non sale items must be clearly marked. The previous price must also be displayed with the reduction.