The overall figure of the all activities sector totaled 6.119 billion in 2009. The sector is suffering from a drop in attendance, which for several years has continued to grow. This disaffection finds several causes. Markets are often held at times that are not compatible with household constraints. Supermarkets and more generally retail chains capture the bulk of customers with comprehensive offers, attractive prices and wider schedules. The rise and hegemony of mass distribution and hard discounters are a threat to the markets. Finally, the crisis period reduces the budget of consumer food expenditure. In this very difficult context, the number of failures is significant. It was, all segments combined of 542 in 2010. As for survival rates beyond the first 5 years, it is 37.5% for food businesses and 41.2% for others. However, local authorities and municipal officials are aware of the importance of the presence of markets for communal animation. They try to develop them both for their own citizens, but also to attract more visitors to their communities. The image of the markets is very positive for consumers. As a result, professionals who diversify can achieve good results. Specialty markets usually held in the evenings or weekends are growing.
The sector is organized around three types of actors.
A declaration prior to the prefecture is obligatory. The prefecture then issues a temporary certificate of street vendor if the professional has a fixed address for at least six months. This document is valid for one month.
Once registered in the register of trades of the Group of Trades, or the directory of companies of the Group of Commerce, the professional obtains his professional card, for the exercise of non-sedentary activities, the Prefecture. This document must be referred every 2 years by the prefecture.
Fairgrounders must ask their town hall to attach their special circulation booklet. This document must be endorsed every 5 years.
The demand for a fixed or occasional place on the markets is done at the town hall. In the case of the City of Paris, it is necessary to obtain the map of the markets of Paris.
Finally, the professional is subject to the same legal and regulatory obligations as the retail trade.
There is no requirement of any qualification to practice in the sector. However, street trading is not an easy activity. Time constraints are important, excellent physical condition is essential. An experience of markets, flea markets or chips is strongly recommended before settling.
As with most activities, it will be possible to practice as an individual entrepreneur or by creating a corporation. Taxation follows the regime of industrial and commercial profits. The professional is therefore subject to corporate income tax if he has created a company, or includes the income from his business in his income tax return if he has opted for the business. In the sector, almost all professionals work in the form of individual companies.
Two VAT rates apply. The rate of 5.5% is for food products, for all others this rate is 19.6%.
For high demand markets, the waiting list for a location is long. On average, the time is 6 months. This period is several years in Paris and for major provincial markets. Day tickets are more easily accessible. Significant investments are limited to the vehicle which is in general, essential for the exercise of the activity.
The street vendor must follow his daily recipes. He must determine each day his gross margin net of expenses: purchases of goods, travel expenses, cost of his location.
In the food trade, stocks are perishable and must therefore be disposed of very quickly.
The sale of non-food products does not have this constraint. This activity costs less and stocks can be kept.
The turnover depends of course on the number of active days. Since markets are only open on certain days, it is necessary to have locations in several markets to increase turnover. This figure is also a function of the size of the market and its attendance. Food provides significantly higher performance in terms of turnover.
The most important loads are those induced by the vehicle: gas costs, maintenance, repair. The price of the locations is very variable according to the markets. Purchases are also an important item. They must be closely watched.
To get good results, inventory control is essential. For perishable goods, high inventories lead to promotions that weaken the margin. It is therefore best to reduce orders as much as possible, even if this means frequent visits to suppliers. Finally, to guarantee the margin, the prices charged must take into account all the costs. In this sector, cash must always remain positive.
In this very difficult sector, only professionals with several fixed locations in busy markets can succeed.
With no premises, investments remain limited. Some have to invest in a refrigerated vehicle for food. Other investments are limited to umbrellas, a scale and / or cash register.
For the vehicle, a LOA or a leasing can be interesting. For small investments, conventional bank credit is adequate.
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