The official sales period in France is to be extended by one week, until August 1, to support shops hit by the recent riots.
Hundreds of shops were looted or damaged in the violence that erupted after a police officer was charged with fatally shooting 17-year-old driver Nahel in the Paris suburbs last week.
Olivia Grégoire, France’s minister for small and medium businesses, told France 2 television channel: “At the request of shopkeepers, we will prolong the sales by one week, until August 1.”
À la demande des commerçants, nous prenons avec @BrunoLeMaire deux mesures pour soutenir le retour dans les magasins :— Olivia Gregoire (@oliviagregoire) July 5, 2023
Ouverture exceptionnelle des commerces ce dimanche organisée par les Préfets
Prolongement d'une semaine des soldes jusqu'au 1er août pic.twitter.com/MwE6MznXdn
Dates of the sales (les soldes) in France are regulated and take place in summer and at the start of the year. They typically last four weeks.
France’s official summer sales period had been set to run from June 28 to July 25.
The minister also said that businesses are permitted to open this Sunday (July 9), without the usual time restrictions.
She said: “Prefects will be instructed that all the businesses that want to can do so, to catch up from the previous weekend.”
Weekends are typically important days for shops during the sales, but July 1 and 2 - the first days of the summer sales - were largely ruined for a lot of shops due to the unrest.
In a statement, the business federation the Alliance du Commerce said that the riots had brought “a brutal stop to the activity of the sales” in most stores. It said that overall, larger stores had seen a drop in business of 8% on the worst day of the riots, and 4.1% less over the first five days of the sales compared to 2022.
“The first days of the sales are essential for shopkeepers’ success,” the statement continued. “They represent a minimum of 25% of the business done during the period. Yet, some shops suffered a loss in business of up to 36% in Strasbourg, and 24% in Marseille.”
The federation said that the impact was felt particularly in the Paris region, where the Alliance said it had recorded a 2% overall drop in business over the first two days of the sales.
Shopkeepers have also sounded the alarm over the destruction of their property premises, with many saying that they are not insured for loss of business caused by damage.
In response, the government has said that it may delay or even cancel certain business taxes to help affected stores, and could even compensate shops that could not open due to damage.