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Sephora forced to shut at 21.00

Unions win appeal court ruling that perfume giant must close flagship Champs-Elysées store for breaking employment law

PARIS perfume store Sephora has been ordered to close its flagship Champs-Elysées store at 21.00 each night after unions brought a court case claiming it was breaking the law on night-working.

Sephora has for years kept the shop open until 1.00 in the morning at weekends and until midnight on other days as this was best suited to its tourist trade. It said that it did 20% of its business after 21.00.

Last year it won an administrative court ruling backing its late opening hours, but the Paris Appeal Court overturned the decision.

Around 50 workers gathered at the court as the decision was given, saying that they wanted the right to work at night as it suited them. They said they were paid time and a half and gained extra time off for working late.

Earlier a petition had been signed by the majority of the Sephora shop staff and published in leading newspapers saying they wanted to continue to be able to work in the evening and that closure could cost 50 jobs.

However, the Clic-P group of unions which brought the case said the workers had been forced into signing the petition or lose their jobs.

Sephora, part of luxury group LVMH, said that it would abide by the ruling in the meantime but was taking the decision to a higher appeal court. It said that the shop employed 200 workers including 58 working in the evening. It would try to avoid any lay-offs.

France employment law says working between 21.00 and 6.00 should only be done in exceptional circumstances.

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