France postpones ‘Black Friday’ to help locked-down shops

France’s government has gotten e-commerce businesses like Amazon and supermarket chains to delay the “Black Friday” discount shopping promotion by a week to Dec. 4

PARIS — France’s government on Friday got supermarket chains and e-commerce platforms like Amazon to agree to postpone “Black Friday” promotions, responding to concerns that shops shuttered by the nation’s coronavirus lockdown are hemorrhaging business and could be hurt further if they miss out on the consumer splurge.

The ministry said support for the delay ended up being unanimous among commerce, e-commerce and supermarket representatives who took part in two days of talks. It said a “spirit of responsibility and solidarity” prevailed.

Postponing “Black Friday” until real-world stores have reopened would allow them to also profit from consumer spending on cut-price goods ahead of Christmas.

The director of Amazon France, Frederic Duval, told France Info radio on Friday before the meeting that the e-commerce distributor was ready to sign up to a delay. Its “Black Friday” promotions will be pushed back to Dec. 4, he said. The delay applies only to Amazon France, he added. In several other countries Amazon was launching a week of deals already on Friday.

The focus on “Black Friday” is part of what has become a wider debate in France about the lopsided effects of lockdowns, with businesses deemed “non-essential” forced to close while some big distributors and e-commerce sites have thrived as consumers have shopped online instead.

In a boost to florists, among businesses that found themselves on the “non-essential” list, the government allowed sales of Christmas trees from Friday, granting a lockdown exception to the traditional decoration that, arguably, could be regarded as perhaps not strictly essential.

Paris florist Ieda Fusco was thrilled.

“If we can’t open our shops for Christmas it will be very difficult for the sector,” she said. “There are already a lot of flower shops that suffer greatly so, today, we need help and coherence.”

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