Paris Retailers Hit With Damage During Violent Yellow Vest Protests

As about 10,000 yellow-vest protesters took to the streets of Paris on Saturday, top retailers on the Champs-Élysées shopping strip once again took a notable hit.

According to footage from French television station BFM TV, Lacoste, Hugo Boss and other stores had their windows damaged during the 18th consecutive week of protests by the gilets jaunes antigovernment protesters. According to French media reports, the yellow-vest protesters also set fire to a Longchamp store. Popular Parisian brasserie Fouquet’s also was damaged during a day that once again turned violent.

“There are a number of people who have come just to smash things,” said interior minister Christophe Castaner in a tweet on Saturday.

The French fashion industry has been grappling with the impact of the protests for months. Dior rescheduled its men’s show in January due to the incidents. After several of its stores were looted, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton — Dior’s parent company — opted to take the drastic step of closing all its stores in Paris on several Saturdays before Christmas, as did fellow luxury players including Kering and leading department stores.

Paris, protesters, France
Protesters walk alongside the Seine river during a ‘Yellow Vests’ protest in Paris, France, Jan. 5.
CREDIT: IAN LANGSDON/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The protest movement started out as discontent over a fuel tax but has broadened to encompass a range of frustrations over declining living standards, taking a violent turn that has caught the country by surprise and thrown the government of French President Emmanuel Macron into crisis.

In January, the government extended measures allowing more stores to stay open Sunday into the new year.

— With contributions by Joelle Diderich

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