France postpones 'Black Friday' to help locked-down shops

  • An elderly man wears a face mask as he walks on the Champs Elysee avenue, in Paris, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. France has surpassed 2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus, the fourth-highest total in the world.

    An elderly man wears a face mask as he walks on the Champs Elysee avenue, in Paris, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. France has surpassed 2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus, the fourth-highest total in the world. Associated Press

  • FILE- In this file photo taken on Nov, 28, 2019, a customer walks down the aisle of a shop in the Carrefour Shopping center at the eve of the Black Friday event, in Cesson, western France.  In response to the coronavirus, France's government is working to get agreement from the nation's e-commerce sector and supermarket chains to delay the "Black Friday" discount shopping promotion by a week to Dec. 4.

    FILE- In this file photo taken on Nov, 28, 2019, a customer walks down the aisle of a shop in the Carrefour Shopping center at the eve of the Black Friday event, in Cesson, western France. In response to the coronavirus, France's government is working to get agreement from the nation's e-commerce sector and supermarket chains to delay the "Black Friday" discount shopping promotion by a week to Dec. 4. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 11/20/2020 11:50 AM

PARIS -- France's government on Friday got supermarket chains and e-commerce platforms like Amazon to agree to postpone 'úBlack Friday'Ě promotions, responding to concerns that shops shuttered by the nation's coronavirus lockdown are hemorrhaging business and could be hurt further if they miss out on the consumer splurge.

Under the deal brokered by the economy minister, Bruno Le Maire, 'úBlack Friday'Ě in France will now be pushed back by a week to Dec. 4, with the understanding that lockdown-shuttered businesses will have been allowed to reopen by then.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The ministry said support for the delay ended up being unanimous among commerce, e-commerce and supermarket representatives who took part in two days of talks. It said a 'úspirit of responsibility and solidarity'Ě prevailed.

With the lockdown starting to bring France's latest virus surge back under control, the government is facing pressure to allow businesses closed as 'únon-essential'Ě to reopen. But it is also mindful of the risk of infections speeding up again if restrictions are lifted too soon, too quickly. The approach of 'úBlack Friday," originally scheduled for Nov. 27 in France, had brought the dilemma to a head.

Postponing "Black Friday'Ě until real-world stores have reopened would allow them to also profit from consumer spending on cut-price goods ahead of Christmas.

The director of Amazon France, Frederic Duval, told France Info radio on Friday before the meeting that the e-commerce distributor was ready to sign up to a delay. Its 'úBlack Friday'Ě promotions will be pushed back to Dec. 4, he said. The delay applies only to Amazon France, he added. In several other countries Amazon was launching a week of deals already on Friday.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The focus on 'úBlack Friday'Ě is part of what has become a wider debate in France about the lopsided effects of lockdowns, with businesses deemed 'únon-essential" forced to close while some big distributors and e-commerce sites have thrived as consumers have shopped online instead.

In a boost to florists, among businesses that found themselves on the 'únon-essential" list, the government allowed sales of Christmas trees from Friday, granting a lockdown exception to the traditional decoration that, arguably, could be regarded as perhaps not strictly essential.

Paris florist Ieda Fusco was thrilled.

'úIf we can't open our shops for Christmas it will be very difficult for the sector,'Ě she said. 'úThere are already a lot of flower shops that suffer greatly so, today, we need help and coherence.'Ě

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.