French finance minister calls for postponement of Black Friday amid lockdown
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Wednesday called on supermarkets and on-line retailers to postpone the "Black Friday" sales shopping day due to take place on Nov. 27 as shops selling non-essential goods remained closed during lockdown.
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Small shops, which were ordered to close by the government, have raised concerns they will suffer from competition from giant online retail companies such as Amazon that are allowed to operate and deliver goods during France's second nationwide coronavirus lockdown.
"Is next Friday really the right time to organise a Black Friday? My answer is no", Le Maire told France's upper house Senate.
He said he would ask supermarkets and on-line retailers to explore all options to delay the event, a discount shopping day that takes place worldwide, usually coinciding with the Friday of the US Thanksgiving Weekend.
Some are responding to his request.
Europe's biggest retailer Carrefour has agreed to suspend its "Black Friday" sales event due to take place from Nov. 27 to Nov. 29, a spokeswoman told Reuters on Thursday.
The spokeswoman said Carrefour's chairman and CEO Alexandre Bompard spoke with La Maire by telephone.
"Alexandre Bompard said he agreed to suspend the Black Friday operation from November 27 to November 29", the spokeswoman said.
Amazon France's boss Frederic Duval on Wednesday gave no indication that online retail giant could cancel its Black Friday event.
He had said earlier on Wednesday that the group has seen a boost in activity in the range of 40%-50% during the country's second lockdown.
The French government has come under pressure from shops and businesses to ease restrictions in time for the Christmas shopping period.
Valerie Pecresse, the politician in charge of the greater Paris region, said on Monday that the government should allow some shops to reopen for the Black Friday sales.
Meanwhile, health minister Olivier Véran said earlier this week that it was too early to claim victory over a resurgence in coronavirus infections even if recent data showed some encouraging signs.
Véran said that authorities were in the process of gradually regaining control over the COVID-19 pandemic but warned that it was too soon to let up.
President Emmanuel Macron is due to address the nation next week regarding the pandemic situation and restrictions in the country.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
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