The conference of the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, Thursday March 4, brought its share of novelties for the trade… and more complexity for the consumers. The head of government announced that “Large shopping centers or supermarkets over 10,000 square meters will be closed” in 22 departments under “Enhanced surveillance”. The measure taking effect from “Friday night midnight”.
This will add, according to Gontran Thüring, General Delegate of the National Council of Shopping Centers (CNCC), “136 new closed centers. In total, two-thirds of the centers will no longer open to the public in France ”.
“We now have three rates: 5,000, 10,000, and 20,000 square meters”, sighs Jacques Creyssel, general delegate of the Federation of commerce and distribution. And customers who do not have the surface characteristics in mind, who will probably be lost.
Measure experienced as an injustice
Because already since the end of February, a specific device has been applied in the agglomerations of Dunkirk and Nice, confined at weekends. Joined, during the announcements of Thursday, by the Pas-de-Calais. In these territories, only food stores and essential businesses like pharmacies or bookstores – which recently joined this list – are allowed to open. Stores and shopping malls of more than 5,000 square meters, they have to lower the curtain all week.
In Dunkirk and in the Alpes-Maritimes, the Kingfisher group (Castorama, Brico Dépôt) had to close the few DIY stores exceeding 5,000 square meters, which are no longer accessible to professionals, for click & collect orders, or for home delivery.
And in the rest of France, stores remain subject to the health restriction put in place since January 31: non-food shopping centers with a surface area of more than 20,000 square meters are closed and store visits limited to 1 customer for 10 square meters. A measure already experienced as an injustice for some stores located in small shopping malls with a large hypermarket “Because we count in the calculation, with the reserves and the offices, the surface of the food store while it remains open”, regrets Yohann Petiot, Director General of the Alliance du commerce.
But this time the businesses escaped a much worse scenario which was on the table a few hours before. In the departments under surveillance, it was a question of closing anything exceeding an area of 5,000 square meters. Everything changed in the afternoon of Thursday, after a telephone meeting initially scheduled on the issue of rents between Bercy and professional federations.
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