Amazon and Big Retailers to Postpone Black Friday in France
Amazon.com Inc. and other major retailers in France agreed to postpone Black Friday amid an outcry from smaller rivals, which have been campaigning to re-open physical stores before the promotional event.
Amazon and traditional retailers, including Galeries Lafayette, agreed to postpone the shopping holiday from Nov. 27 to Dec. 4. All non-essential stores in France have been shut since Oct. 30 when authorities imposed new restrictions to contain the spread of the virus. The lockdown is set to end on Dec. 1.
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire is set to make a final decision on Friday about whether non-essential stores can reopen before the end of November.
“With other retailers and after listening to the minister’s recommendations, we told ourselves, let’s postpone Black Friday if it allows all physical retailers to reopen before Dec. 1 and let’s postpone it to Dec. 4,” Frederic Duval, general manager at Amazon France said in an interview on Radio Classique on Friday.
Le Maire said earlier this week reopening non-essential stores with a massive promotional event that could generate crowds in stores would be irresponsible amid the pandemic threat.
“What’s important is that we reopen our stores, if this priority comes with a postponement of Black Friday, we won’t argue with it,” Nicolas Houze, chief executive officer of department store owner Galeries Lafayette said during an interview on Friday with BFM Business. “Our priority is to welcome our customers in our stores and if we can do so from Nov. 27 or Nov. 28, it’s great news.”
Supermarket chains Carrefour SA, Leclerc SA, and Systeme U also said Thursday they’d either support a postponement or a suspension of Black Friday.
The decision from Amazon follows a battle for workers’ rights during the pandemic that cost the company market share.
Amazon generated 5.7 billion euros ($6.76 billion) in revenue in France last year, accounting for about 1% of retail sales in the country, Duval said. Black Friday — a U.S. import — has become a major retail event in France, generating 6 billion euros in revenue last year, according to the Finance Ministry.
The second lockdown brought ire from independent shopkeepers in France. Bookstore owners protested that supermarket chains were initially able to sell books while they themselves had to remain shut because they were deemed non-essential.
— With assistance by Helene Fouquet
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