France to postpone Black Friday

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In France, Black Friday will be delayed by one week: Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire is asking for the sales event to be postponed. Retailers agree on the condition that all stores are allowed to reopen.


Fair chances for everyone

France will not be participating with Black Friday this year. This sales day, blown over from America, will take place worldwide on 27 November, but the French are postponing it. The government worry a shopping rush might take place. After four weeks of lockdown, stores in France may reopen on 28 November. If bargain discounts coincide with the reopening of stores, policymakers fear uncontrollable crowds and an increased infection rate.


Most trade federations and large retailers are inclined to agree with the decision, but they want absolute certainty of all shops being allowed to reopen. The French Minister of Economy, Bruno Le Maire, confirms he will examine postponing Black Friday by one week (until 4 December), provided a guaranteed reopening of stores by then. This way, everyone will be able to participate and prepare the reasoning goes.


Michel-Edouard Leclerc, chairman of hypermarket group E.Leclerc, tweeted that he supports the decision, on the condition that all shops can reopen on 28 November. Competitor Carrefour is prepared to make even greater compromises: to encourage the reopening of smaller shops, CEO Alexandre Bompard says he is willing to suspend the actions altogether. Carrefour had planned sales from 27 until 29 November. Both retailers, however, are considered essential food retailers and were allowed to remain open during the lockdown.


Amazon joins in

Nevertheless, the proposal also has its opponents: Medef, the largest employers' federation in France, believes it is too late to change course just eight days before the sales day. But in the meantime, even Amazon has agreed: "We have decided to postpone the date of Black Friday if this allows physical stores to reopen before 1 December," French top executive Frédéric Duval told TF1.


For Amazon, these lockdowns are a goldmine: earlier this week, the French subsidiary confirmed growth of between 40 and 50 per cent during the current period of store closures. In a radio interview, the company also stressed the importance of bargain discounts like Black Friday. "The French need to do their Christmas shopping, and they want to economize. This period, the end of November, is crucial to be able to offer this."