Promotions, sales and discounts regulations

Promotions, sales and discounts regulations

Supervision of “sales” (“soldes”)

The use of sales is closely governed by the provisions of the Commercial Code and of the Consumer Code :

  • They must be organized within the periods defined by decree (2 per year)
  • Sales fall within the scope of price reduction announcements and must therefore meet the above-mentioned criteria
  • The products advertised as “sales” (soldes) must have been offered for sale and paid for at least one month before the beginning of the sales period in question
  • Outside of sales, “liquidation” with strong promotions is possible in order to clear a stock. The information on clearance sales must be fair and not constitute a misleading commercial practice

The anti “Black Friday” law

  • Since the anti-waste law for a circular economy of February 10, 2020, is considered a misleading commercial practice the fact of “giving the impression, through nationally coordinated promotional operations, that the consumer benefits from a price reduction comparable to that of the sales.”
  • This regulation is aimed more specifically at Black Friday, which consists in offering strong promotions over a short period of time on a national scale, even though this period is outside those defined by decree

Article L. 121-4, 23° of the Consumer Co

Price reduction announcements

Before May 28, 2022

Any price reduction announcement had to respond to an “economic reality” that had to be proven in the event of a control by the competent authorities.


Since May 28, 2022

The notion of “economic reality” has been abandoned. From now on, the previous price must correspond to the lowest price charged by the trader to all consumers during the last thirty days.
Exception made for successive price reductions during a given period, in this case the previous price is the one practiced before the application of the first price reduction. Also, these provisions are not applicable to operations by which a professional compares the prices he displays with those of other professionals.

Article L. 112-1-1 of the Consumer Code

Which display mode ?

Price reduction advertisements must express the price reduction:

  • In percentage (- 30%)
  • In value (“5 euros off”)
  • In crossed out price (“30 euros” “50 euros”)

The display must be clear, precise and understandable to avoid falling under the scope of misleading commercial practices. The previous price must be displayed for each individual item.

You need more information on this subject? Our legal advisors are at your disposal.