Paris Department Stores Finally Open On Sundays

Paris department stores finally open on Sundays

PARIS, Jan 6, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 06th Jan, 2017 ) - Sunday shopping at Paris's prestigious department stores is finally becoming a reality, giving them a much-needed shot in the arm following terror attacks that have scared away foreign visitors to the world's fashion capital.

President Francois Hollande's Socialist government has chipped away at France's laws preventing shops opening on Sunday. Regional officials have received authority to allow stores to open more Sundays every year, but the major initiative was the creation of special international tourism zones where shops could operate on Sunday.

That was a particularly important move for Paris, a perennial favourite for tourists, but whose famous department stores and luxury boutiques lining Boulevard Haussmann and the Champs Elysees had to stay shut.

Implementation of the 2015 reform has been slowed down however as stores negotiated with unions on pay conditions. Working on Sundays remains controversial, although high unemployment and the higher wages on offer have helped to soften opposition.

Earlier this week, Printemps finally got enough union support for its wage package for Sunday openings, the last of Paris's major department stores to strike a deal. It plans to begin opening its doors on Sundays in a few months.

Galeries Lafayette, the other major department store based on Boulevard Haussmann and a particularly popular destination for cash-rich Chinese visitors, makes its first regular opening this Sunday.

Another high-end store, Le Bon Marche, also plans to begin Sunday shopping after reaching a deal with unions last year. The flagship BHV store near Paris city hall was the first to strike an agreement with unions in November 2015 and has been opening its doors since July last year.

Six months later, "the results are extremely positive, with sales increasing by 10 percent since the Sunday openings," BHV's management told AFP. That beat the forecast of a 6-8 percent gain that the store made when it began Sunday shopping.

"Since September, Sunday has become the second best sales day for BHV Marais, behind Saturday," said Galeries Lafayette group, which owns the store. And it isn't only tourists who are availing themselves of Sunday shopping hours.

"There is undoubtedly a real appetite from the public, especially those who shop regularly in the adjacent streets in the Marais (neighbourhood where Sunday shopping has been allowed for several years under a separate exception) to drop by BHV now as well," said the company.

It also noted new clients visiting the store, both from the neighbourhood and the greater Paris region, who said they didn't have time to shop there other days of the week.