The story appears on

Page A9

August 15, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

Sunday shopping still to catch up as new law rattles France

FRANCE is taking a leisurely August attitude to a new law that shakes up the country's traditional devotion to Sunday rest.

Starting tomorrow, more stores have the legal right to open, a step taken by the government in hopes of boosting employment and soaking up added tourist dollars.

But it's a complicated measure, full of unresolved details that need to be worked out by employers and workers, many of whom are gone for France's sacrosanct, monthlong August holiday break.

And in reality, many shops that wanted to get around century-old rules and sell their wares on Sunday have already found ways to do so.

Shoppers on Paris' streets were unconvinced that the new law would make them change their habits.

"The new law is more for the tourists," said Vanessa Crenn, 27, from Paris. "On Sundays, I rest, go to the movies or the park. But it is good for the stores, to get more customers."

The law will allow all non-food stores in 494 towns and 29 zones designated special tourist areas to legally open on Sunday. It gives businesses more legal certainty, but those that weren't already open still have to negotiate new arrangements with workers who will want something in return for giving up their Sunday.

"It's psychologically difficult to work on a Sunday," said Donalda Bashi, manager of the children's clothing line at Benetton, who is looking for more than double pay. "If they want us to do it, they have to make it worth our while."

An Ifop survey in June found that 59 percent of French were for the reform.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy won election with the slogan "work more to earn more," and opening more of France's shops on Sunday is part of his recipe for kickstarting France's economy.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend