Black Friday Misery For French Shops As Macron And Protesters Lock Horns | 11/17/2018 | Staff
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PARIS (Reuters) – French retailers warned after days of unrest over fuel taxes on Friday that prolonged protests could spoil the Christmas shopping season and threaten jobs, while President Emmanuel Macron showed no sign of backing down.

For a week, protesters clad in fluorescent yellow jackets have blocked highways across France with burning barricades and convoys of slow-moving trucks, obstructing access to fuel depots, shopping centers and some factories.

Unrest - Dilemma - Macron - Champion - Fight

The unrest is a dilemma for Macron who casts himself as a champion in the fight against climate change and wants the French to switch to greener energies. He has been derided as out of touch with common folk and is fighting a slump in popularity.

Now he faces upsetting businesses with a warning from retailers that the protests are damaging trade and could harm the economy.

Retailers - Revenue - Percent - Saturday - Day

Retailers’ daily revenue fell 35 percent last Saturday, the first day of the so-called “yellow vest” protests, when nearly 300,000 people took part.

“We have a real problem as some stores have been closed for a week now because of the blockades,” said Jacques Creyssel, head of the French Retail Federation (FCD). “One week without revenue is dramatic for a company.”

FCD - Retailers - Carrefour - Casino - Fnac

The FCD represents retailers including Carrefour, Casino and Fnac Darty, for whom Black Friday, a now annual event imported from the United States on the day when retailers traditionally begin turning a profit, marks the start of the Christmas shopping season.

“It’s a crucial time for retailers. If retailers cannot work and customers cannot shop, it’s bound to have a major impact on employment,” said Creyssel.

Protests - Week - Saturday - Police - Confrontations

The protests will enter a second week on Saturday with police braced for confrontations with violent fringe elements though the overall number of protesters has fallen sharply.

Tourism is also being affected. The Eiffel Tower in Paris will be closed on Saturday because of the planned...
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