Amazon has agreed to delay its Black Friday sale in France over concerns that it would unfairly disadvantage bricks-and-mortar retailers forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision follows pressure from the country’s finance minister Bruno Le Maire, who called on supermarkets and online retailers to postpone the discount period while the lockdown of non-essential shops continued.
"Today we have decided to delay the date of Black Friday if this can help shopkeepers reopen before Dec 1. This year the Black Friday will take place on Dec 4," Amazon France Chief Executive Frederic Duval told TF1 television.
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Even before the coronavirus pandemic, France had a difficult relationship with Amazon, believing its US-style rampant consumerism to be at odds with the national culture. The online firm has seen sales skyrocket across the globe with Covid-19 forcing many individuals to remain indoors and conduct their shopping online.
Although originally a US-only event to mark the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday has gained global significance, particularly as Amazon has grown its market share. The coronavirus could make this year’s sales the most successful yet for the e-commerce giant.
On the other hand, Covid-19 has brought added scrutiny to Amazon’s employment practices, with question marks arising over how it keeps its members of staff safe. A number of coronavirus outbreaks have been connected to the firm’s factories.
While French retailers may be pleased about the delay to Black Friday sales, other European countries have not implemented similar measures. It remains to be seen how other nations currently imposing lockdowns will ensure that their physical stores receive the support they need as the holiday shopping season ramps up.