November 21, 2020 08:16
The shopping holiday known as Black Friday has been postponed for a week in France, as major retailers have accepted the government's request for delay to help small shop owners, still closed due to the pandemic.
With more than US$7 billion in sales last year, Black Friday has become a major event in France and a good deal for customers ahead of Christmas. But this year is different, and once again COVID-19 takes the blame for it.
Non-essential small shops, such as those not selling food, are currently closed under health restrictions in the country. Therefore, they have been struggling and the competition from supermarkets or online retailers is considered unfair.
French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire called this week for a one-week delay for Black Friday to ensure the reopening of small stores "under maximum safety conditions." Le Maire said he demanded that all key economic players, like supermarkets and online retailers, be responsible.
Surprisingly to many, Auchan and Carrefour, the main supermarket chains in the country, accepted the offer. Even the giant online retailer Amazon agreed to the measure.
Facing huge backlash in France for increasing its sales by between 40 percent and 50 percent while small businesses remain closed, Amazon said it would postpone its sales event for a week.
Fredric Duval, CEO of Amazon France, said Amazon is paying attention to society and authorities, and in consensus with other big retailers, decided to postpone Black Friday until Dec. 4 to enable small shop owners to open before Dec. 1. It is for the common interests, he said.
Experts are skeptical about the announcement, as Black Friday is now a worldwide reality and authorities cannot technically prevent French customers from purchasing products on Nov. 27 on foreign websites.
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