Slotted in amongst the terrible happenings in France this week was the event that retailers look forward to each January in an attempt to boost sales and rid their stores of end of season stock. Yes in France on January 7 Les Soldes kicked into action. Admittedly coverage of the sales was overshadowed in the media this week as there was full TV coverage of the brutal Charlie Hebdo assassinations followed by the horrible aftermath with the two separate hostage situations. The photo above is of Karl Lagerfeld‘s pictorial response to the attacks.
On Friday I made a quick trip to Cannes for a peek at the sales and saw Je Suis Charlie signs posted up on many of the stores. These were often photocopied, and certainly nothing flash but they spoke volumes of events that have really struck to the core of the French psyche. Liberté is a right that the French grow up learning is part of their heritage along with Egalité and Fraternité. That freedom of expression was dented momentarily in this savage attack, is simply an affront to being French. It is expected that one million people will be marching in Paris today to show solidarity for the victims and to demonstrate that they will not be held to ransom in this way. There have been marches in many cities already this week and the numbers have been huge. It’s estimated that 700,000 people took to the streets yesterday in cities around France.
On my visit to Cannes I had lunch in a small cafe and a staff member who had finished her shift showed me what was happening on the TV in that awful saga. I had not known there were now two hostage situations. For both of us what we were seeing was terribly shocking. I returned from Cannes to find my French man numbly glued to the TV screen for hours, he just couldn’t believe what was unfolding before his eyes. I hope the retailers had some joy with Les Soldes because there wasn’t a lot of it around in France this week.