French fashion retailers demand greater state support after riots

French fashion retailers demand greater state support after riots

Translated by

Nicola Mira

During the riots that followed the death of Nahel, a young French citizen killed by a policeman in Nanterre, near Paris, on June 27, scores of stores in cities across France were damaged and looted. Last weekend, the French Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire,


“It’s imperative that [social security] payments are deferred, but we’re also asking for a special compensation fund for the retailers affected to be set up, so that they won’t have to pay any excess and they’ll be able to re-open their damaged shops as soon as possible,” said Yohann Petiot, managing director of the Alliance du Commerce
Petiot thinks that “retailers shouldn’t bear the financial burden for the riots,” and suggested that most of the retailers affected might be able to re-open their shops on Sunday July 9, “in order to try to make up for the loss of earnings as soon as possible, and to allow the areas that were affected to return to normality.”

Also the French national apparel federation (FNH), which represents independent retailers, is keen for the authorities to offer greater support to stricken businesses. The government’s response so far “seems clearly insufficient, well short of what’s required in this truly serious situation,” said Pierre Talamon, president of FNH. “When independent stores are looted, the life and plans of the entrepreneurs who run them are also shattered, impacting their families and employees,” he added.

Help from insurance companies is by no means sufficient, according to Talamon, given that “only half of these retailers appear to be insured against operating losses.”

FNH has urged the government to make sure that insurers will take on all the claims, even those by businesses that aren’t covered for trade losses. The association also demanded that social security payments be cancelled, and not merely postponed, and to allow companies that will not be able to operate in the coming quarter to furlough staff.

“The [Interior Ministry] could deploy the same measures introduced during the third Covid wave, when so-called ‘non-essential’ stores were forced to close. Why shouldn’t the solidarity fund be reactivated? Some [retailers] no longer have shops, nor stocks. The situation is comparable,” said Talamon, who also suggested that lessors should exempt retailers from paying rent during the period in question.

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