French sports companies face EUR 3bn loss of turnover: study

France has been under lockdown since March 17 in an attempt to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

According to the study, the loss of turnover for the sport sector would be estimated to reach EUR 3.1 billion, if the lockdown lasts until the end of April. - AFP (REPRESENTATIVE)

French sports companies are expecting a loss of EUR three billion (USD 3.3 billion) in turnover for the first half of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, a study by the French Sport and Cycling Union suggested on Wednesday.

France has been under lockdown since March 17 in an attempt to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, which has claimed more than 3,500 lives in the country. That has left sports equipment traders and manufacturers, fitness gyms and sports centres fighting to balance the books.

The Sport and Cycling Union, which represents companies in the sports sector in France, said of 900 companies it had surveyed, 98 percent expect a decline in turnover, of “more than 30 percent in two thirds of cases.”

If the lockdown lasts until the end of April, the loss of turnover for the total sector would be estimated to reach EUR 3.1 billion, including EUR 1.3 billion for traders and EUR 1.26 billion for manufacturers. “With the return of nice weather, spring is [usually] an essential period for the consumption of sport and sports products. So it’s a brutal halt to it,” the union’s executive officer, Virgile Caillet, told AFP.

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“The two sectors most affected... are commerce and leisure, which are going to have zero activity. They are often small businesses, with few employees and not a lot of cash, who will not be able to hold out for very long.”

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The union said that partial unemployment measures could affect 50,000 workers in the sector. It added that “60 percent” of companies which support a sports club would be unable to continue with that form of sponsorship under their current terms.

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