British lingerie brands urged to tap into evolving French retail market

Inside Galeries Lafayette Haussmann in Paris. Credit PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images.

British lingerie brands would do well to tap into the French retail market, which is opening up to international newcomers after years of being dominated by home-grown heritage corsetry labels, according to a new report.

The French lingerie market, which is currently valued at EUR3.9 billion (£3.5bn), a 7.8% increase on five years ago, has historically been dominated by French brands, but a greater number of international labels are succeeding in the country and it still presents huge potential, La Fédération de la Maille et de la Lingerie said in the report, ‘Who is Who in the French Lingerie Market?’.

“Extremely competitive, consolidated and high-end, the French lingerie market still reserves room for newcomers, as French consumers are the biggest spender compared to other European lingerie consumers, with women spending about 20% of their fashion budget on lingerie,” the federation explained.

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The French retail structure for intimate apparel is split between hypermarkets for mass- consumption merchandise, domestic and international mono-brand chains offering ‘affordable’ lingerie; a few, but important, department stores and multi-brand chains selling ‘better-to-premium’ intimate apparel; and privately owned multi-brand shops and boutiques operating in the medium to upper-medium price segments.

Online and catalogue sales continue to boom with 20% of market share and are becoming key platforms for lingerie shopping.

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