The number of specialty shop creations sharply declines in France over the last 9 months. Many of those shops also closed.

A 61% decrease recorded in the store openings

While there were 2,829 specialty stores in March 2015, this figure dropped to 2,477 by December 2015. A terrifying number of 352 closures have been recorded in the last nine months of the year. If French entrepreneurs nevertheless continue to create stores, the growth rate has slowed down by 61%. The number of creations indeed reached 177 this year against 461 last year. The average rate of new store openings is now 15 per month for 2015, against 38 per month in 2014.

The natural market regulation could obviously be taken into account to explain this decline, but the bad press of the vape with many alarmist articles, has undoubtedly created confusion in the minds of consumers. On the other hand, offers dedicated to tobacconists, usually provided by subsidiaries of large tobacco companies, such as the JHA or Logic products, have certainly helped the network of tobacco retailers to gain market shares.

The report of the French Observatory of Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT) indicated, in February 2014, that the specialty shops attracted 58% of consumers, against 21% for tobacconists. In the absence of recent update from this state agency it is difficult to evaluate the variation of the power struggle the established tobacconists exert on the emerging market.

Closings: Paris-Île-de-France and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur are the most affected regions

Number of vaping specialty shops (blue) in each administrative French region and closures (orange) between March and December 2015. ( Source PGVG Marketing)
Number of vaping specialty shops (blue) in each administrative French region and closures (orange) between March and December 2015. ( Source PGVG Marketing)

The Île-de-France (IdF) region has seen the closure, in 2015, of 54 shops. The same scenario occurred in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) where 49 shops closed their door, which is not far from 6 closures per months. Even if the number of these cessations of activity is almost identical for these two areas, the number of shops per capita however remains very different. Our figures indicate that a shop accounts for 20,949 residents in the PACA region, against 26,098 for the IdF.

A region, the Haute Normandie, doesn’t seem to follow the same pattern with 72 specialty shops in activity, zero closure, and 1 shop for 25,721 residents. The Limousin and the Lorraine regions saw a low relative drop in the number of closures (+5 on average). These are regions where the number of shops by resident is the lowest with 1 shop for about 30 000 residents, as Auvergne or the Centre.

* Data collected by PGVG Marketing between March and December 2015

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In-house journalist at the Vaping Post. Covering international news.