- Marjorie van Elven |
The “gilets jaunes” (yellow vests) are taking a heavy toll on French retail. Retailers have lost approximately 1 billion euros (1.13 billion US dollars) since the protests began around a month ago, according to a statement by the French Retail Federation. “We must expect a new slowdown of economic growth at year-end due to the yellow vest protests”, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told Reuters Television.
Paris was practically a ghost town last Saturday, as numerous stores, including Galeries Lafayette, Printemps and Citadium, decided to close their doors from Friday evening, with some even erecting wooden barricades to prevent protesters from vandalizing their windows. The yellow vests deliberately target high-end shops.
Although the movement is getting smaller (according to the government, about 135,000 people took the streets across the country last Saturday, 10,000 of them in Paris, compared to 280,000 on the first weekend of protests), the municipality deems last weekend’s retail damage to be worse than the weekend prior. Nearly 1,200 people were taken into custody on Saturday.