It is the belly of Paris. But for weeks, the Forum des Halles has stopped swarming. The bowels of the shopping center have been living in slow motion since the establishment of teleworking Monday, January 3, by the government, at the rate of three, ” or even four days Per week, to fight against the spread of Covid-19. They no longer dump the thousands of Ile-de-France residents who usually travel daily between their homes and their offices. The frequentation of the railway network of the Châtelet-Les Halles station is down by 40% during the first week of January, compared to the beginning of 2019, according to the RATP.
Above this underground station – the largest in the world -, the 140 signs of the Forum des Halles shopping center, managed by the property company Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW), are worried. Wednesday January 12, the first day of winter sales, the director of the shopping center, Hugo Rey, can assure that attendance is ” almost identical to the first day of the winter sales 2019 », Several traders observe how the corridors are « vides ».
Car “The conditions for holding the winter sales are not optimal”, recalls Emmanuel Le Roch, general delegate of Procos, the federation of specialized trade. The health situation still requires the French to be careful. “ The latest government communications alerting to the extreme contagiousness of the virus currently circulating create an anxiety-provoking context for traders and consumers ”, observes, in a press release, the chamber of commerce and industry (CCI) of Paris-Ile-de-France. In addition, clothing traders often prefer to prohibit access to changing rooms, for hygienic reasons. Finally, the return of inflation hardly inclines French households to untie their purse strings. Therefore, predicted Jérémy Grissonnanche, manager of the Uranium jeans store at the Forum des Halles, “The sales, it won’t be crazy”.
Admittedly, the rush in stores on the first day of the sales is almost part of ancient history, recalls Marcel Nakam, general manager of the Jonak shoe brand. A few bargain hunters, despite everything, scoured the Zara, Bershka and H&M stores on Wednesday. But “awon “, at the Forum des Halles, “That day, it was crowded”, assures Nicolas Garzelli, assistant of the store L’Oreille Cassée, brand of women’s and men’s fashion, then ” that today people are at home ”.
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