A top French economic official warned that the country will see its worst recession since World War II as the coronavirus crisis continues to paralyze the economy.
To help combat the blow, the French retail association is calling for an extension to the summer sales period in an effort to help fuel business.
Bruno Le Maire, French minister for the economy and finance, said that 2020 will be worse than 2009, when the economy declined 2.2%. “We will probably be far beyond that,” he said.
In response, the French Alliance du Commerce, which represents department stores as well as clothing and footwear shops, issued a statement yesterday after consulting with its members last week.
Like many European countries, France has regulations regarding the length of its promotional period, but the group advised that this year, the summer sales period should begin no later than July 1 and run over the course of six weeks, as opposed the usual four set out by the state.
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This would allow more time for spring ’20 collections to be sold since stores have been closed since March 15. The proposed measures, which also call for flexibility on other rules, are also designed to boost consumption and free up retail cash so they are able to purchase upcoming collections.
“It is urgent we relax these regulations to adapt to the exceptional situation we are facing,” said alliance director general Yohann Petiot.
France recorded its highest coronavirus-related death toll on Monday, when more than 833 people died from infections. Confirmed cases are nearing 100,000.
As reported by Reuters, the General Confederation of Trade (CGT) has called for a general strike on Wednesday of trade and service activities pertaining to food chain supply and supermarket staff. The group is protesting the lack of protection afforded to workers.
The body called for masks to be made available to all store staff and hand sanitizer stations to be installed at store entrances for customers.