For Paris retailers, the holidays are definitely not bright.
A French transport strike that kicked off Dec. 5 continues, with little sign of reprieve. The industrial action has been prompted by a huge proposed shake up of the country’s pension system.
As a result, traffic and sales are down across the French capital during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. Retailers are experiencing even greater declines in sales than the same period last year during the Yellow Vest protests.
According to Bloomberg, a study by retail federation Procos, which counts electronics retailer FNAC Darty and Zara parent company Inditex as members, reported an average sales drop in Paris of 25% to 30% for the second week of December.
Last week the CNCC, France’s national association of shopping centers, also reported a 12% drop in footfall in malls in and around the French capital compared to last year.
A further general strike has been set for Jan. 9.
The reforms would create a single points-based pension system and end early retirement for some public sector workers. The government said that although it was “willing to improve” on the new retirement age of 64, it would not drop the new plans for a single points based pension system. More talks are scheduled for the start of 2020, but thus far, the unions leading the strikes have refused to observe a “Christmas truce” and planned to continue their strike.
In Paris, only two of the capital’s Metro lines are working (those operating automated driverless trains) and around one in four high speed TGV trains. Those in service are vastly oversubscribed and road traffic is gridlocked.