The “yellow vest” protests have cost French retailers about $1.1 billion dollars in revenue since they started last month, according to The French retail federation (FCD).
On Friday (Dec. 7), Reuters reported that the continuing protests have had a large detrimental effect on the economy. The federation, which represents large supermarket groups in France, such as Carrefour and Casino, said the protests have the potential to ruin the Christmas shopping season, a crucial and important source of income for France’s economy.
The protests, which started with a group of rural, middle-class French people protesting an eco-tax on fuel, has morphed into a large disruptive movement with anarchists, anti-immigration populists and hard-line fascists.
On Dec. 5, President Macron seemed to back down from the planned fuel tax that sparked the protest, saying it wouldn’t start in 2019, but the movement grew beyond that grievance – and it now seems to be more of a gripe about the vast chasm between the rich Paris elite and the rural poor.
Many of the city’s storied monuments, such as the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Musée Delacroix and the Paris Opera, will be closed over the weekend. Stores in the famous Champs-Élysées avenue have been told to shutter, and some shop owners boarded up their shops on Friday.
Retailers are suffering as the protests are now four weeks in and a lot of Paris is locked down, with tens of thousands of police dispatched all over the country to control the chaos. The unrest is the worst in Paris since the 1968 student riots that strangled the economy at the time.
A few weeks ago, protestors blocked access to a few oil depots in France. They also blocked highways with fiery blockades and groups of trucks. The protestors peaked last month at 282,000, according to the Interior Ministry.