Coronavirus closes down iconic French clothing retailer

Corona closes down iconic French clothing retailer

French clothing retailer Tati is forced to close its last remaining store due to the coronavirus fallout, fierce competition and changing consumer habits. That spells the end for the iconic pink and white chequers.


Lost the war

Tati's owner GPG had already made severe cuts in the store network, that once had over 100 stores, but had promised to keep at least the original store next to the famous Sacré-Coeur church. Despite that promise, the owner has now admitted defeat as it was forced to reveal sales in the October to May period went down by almost two thirds compared to the year before.


Yohann Petiot of the Alliance du Commerce (the French alliance of clothing and shoe retailers) comments in The Guardian that there are several reasons for the demise: while consumers changed their habits and aggressive competitors emerged, the last blow came from the succession of yellow vest protests, transport strikes and now the measures against the spread of Covid-19.


First discounter

Tati, who is seen as the first French clothing discounter, was founded in 1948 by Tunisian immigrant Jules Ouaki. Its famously low prices made the store a big success, but in the beginning many customers were still ashamed to be seen with its iconic pink-and-white chequered bags. That all changed when movie stars and other celebrities started using the bags as a fashion statement, skyrocketing Tati's popularity.


The arrival of foreign giants like H&M and Primark made circumstances difficult for the French chain, which was bought by the Eram Group in 2004. A decade later, GPG purchased the chain, only to become its very last owner.