PARIS city council has rejected an application from the big department stores on the Grands Boulevards to open every Sunday.
The Galeries Lafayette and Printemps wanted to be classed as a tourist zone, which would allow them to extend their Sunday trading beyond the five weeks a year allowed at present.
The shops attract 12 million tourists a year, compared with eight million on the Champs-Elysées, which has already been classified as a Sunday trading zone along with six other parts of the capital.
However Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë said Sunday opening was unnecessary and undesirable and said the council should reject a world "where consumerism reigns supreme".
The shops said in a joint statement that the decision was a missed opportunity to boost Paris's economy and tourist appeal.
Galeries Lafayette boss Paul Delaoutre said the move was illogical and made the city appear backward-looking. The shops now hope to reach a compromise with the council to open for eight to 10 Sundays a year - up from the current limit of five.
Trade unions welcomed the city's decision. The CFTC said the move would give workers time to relax and spend time with family, when they are often working unsociable shifts during the week.
Photo: ATOUT France - Jean-François Tripelon-Jarry