Current strikes in France over a potential pension overhaul have adversely affected retail sales during the holiday season, according to a report by Bloomberg.
The strikes have affected the holiday season even more than the Yellow Vest protests last year, and public transportation workers in Paris have been on strike since Dec. 5. Some retailers have reported sales dips of between 20 and 30 percent during the second week of the month.
Previous demonstrations involved protests against President Emmanuel Macron, and they shut down huge swaths of the city, effectively blocking shoppers from locations. From 2017 figures, sales are down almost 50 percent.
“It is bad news in a terribly difficult sector and country,” said Bruno Monteyne, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein.
Sales are also down in the rest of France from a year earlier as well, by about 10 percent. Many restaurants and hotels are also feeling the pinch as fewer people are going out following difficult commute options.
In addition, the economy in the country has been struggling and eCommerce has been changing the way people shop. There’s also a burgeoning movement to be more environmentally conscious about purchases and the places they come from.
“Retailers are already having to reinvent themselves,” Procos Managing Director Emmanuel Le Roch said. “There’s a risk that lost sales from these disruptions will leave them without the means to adapt.”
The final week before Christmas last year saw a rise in sales just in time, but it’s not clear whether something similar will happen this year.
In other news involving France, the U.S. is reportedly moving ahead with tariffs that could be as much as 100 percent on French products. U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron, however, had initially come to a deal on France’s tax on tech companies.
The United States Trade Representative published a report after an investigation into the French tax. And, in a separate announcement, it recommends new tariffs and notes there could be more probes into the digital taxes of Italy, Austria and Turkey.
The U.S. Trade Representative says, according to the report, “France’s Digital Services Tax (DST) discriminates against U.S. companies, is inconsistent with prevailing principles of international tax policy, and is unusually burdensome for affected U.S. companies.”