New restrictions were announced by Jean Castex on Thursday March 4. And the businesses were not spared. The Prime Minister indicated that “Large shopping centers or supermarkets over 10,000 square meters will be closed” in the 23 departments placed under enhanced surveillance. The measure will take effect from this Friday, March 5 at midnight.
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Which means 136 new shopping centers closed. “In total, two thirds of the centers will no longer open to the public in France”, details in the columns of “World” Gontran Thüring, General Delegate of the National Council of Shopping Centers (CNCC).
A measure seen as an injustice by some stores. Still, it could have been worse. In the departments under surveillance, it was a question of closing all stores exceeding 5,000 square meters.
“If we lower the waist too much, we start to touch essential stores, alarmed Jacques Creyssel, general delegate of the Federation of Commerce and Distribution, questioned by “the World”. Two-thirds of DIY stores are owned by Castorama or Leroy-Merlin and they are all over 5,000 square meters or located in shopping centers exceeding this threshold. Small DIY stores will not be able to absorb all the shopping flows. “
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Since January 31, all non-food shopping centers with a surface area of more than 20,000 square meters have been closed and store visits limited to 1 customer per 10 square meters.
A third way
At the end of a telephone meeting between Bercy and the professional federations Thursday, the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire praised a third option: 5,000 square meters for the most affected areas, 10,000 for those under surveillance.
“This new threshold will lead to the closure of many stores that sell products that have become essential, such as DIY or computers. Exemptions will have to be put in place to correct this situation ”, considers Jacques Creyssel.
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In the coming days, the government could announce new aid for rents and compensation for unsold stocks for closed businesses.