France’s largest perfumery, the Sephora store on the Champs-Elysées, will be forced to close its doors at 21h from next week onwards. If the store fails to comply and continues to be open till midnight, there will be a penalty of 80,000 euro for each violation.
Apple, Uniqlo and now Sephora
Clic-P, the discussion platform for the labour unions of Parisian trade, has been crusading against what they consider to be unlawful nightly opening hours in Paris. The Apple Store and Uniqlo had already buckled under the pressure and Sephora now seems to be the next one on the list. Seeing how its board refused to budge, the labour unions decided to take it to court, where their appeal now got accepted.
The decision is a huge letdown for LVMH’s subsidiary. Not only was this particular store France’s largest store with some six million customers, Sephora also claims that 20 % of its yearly turnover was created during those nightly hours.
The 160 employees of the Parisian store had all signed a petition titled "Nous voulons continuer à travailler le soir" ("We want to keep working at night”), defending the current opening hours. The petition states that closing at 21h is not only devastating for the workforce – as 45 jobs would be scrapped – but also for the customers.
The unions consider the petition to be “shameless blackmailing” from the board. They believe the employees were given the document on 6 September and “had no choice but to sign if they wished to keep their job”. Sephora’s board fiercely denied such claims.
Immediately following the ruling, Sephora’s lawyer announced his client would head to a higher appeal court.