For the first Saturday of the sale, Parisian traders would hope for a return of customers and a turnover in the green after a month of December strongly impacted by the manifestations of yellow vests. But in the area of the Opera (IX), a Mecca of Parisian shopping, the hope of rebuilding was quickly thwarted, this Saturday, by returning to the heart of the capital protesters and incessant and screaming convoys police vans. "The environment has become anxious, people prefer to go elsewhere," sums up a trader, disappointed.
Of course, in the middle of the afternoon, traffic is still dense on the sidewalks and many walkers carry handbags smelling bargains. The Uniqlo store, which sells up to 50% off clothing, is filling up with a long line of customers in front of the crates. But around, there is no crowd. Lined by an endless cordon of CRS vans, the Galeries Lafayette and their aisles look grim.
"There are a few less people than usual, it's true, recognizes an experienced saleswoman, but we do not even realize it because it's been weeks that it lasts! In addition, the yellow vests were just past the store and had to prevent people from returning. There are fewer people also because of pre-sales, private sales; it allows you to shop quietly … "she smiles.
Restorers also affected
Boulevard Haussmann always, the Minelli shoe store and its sales at -60% attracts a lot of people. "For me it's a normal sales day," says the store manager who does not want to make more comments. No comments at all, at Sephora, where lovers of promos on cosmetics and perfumes teeming but without excess.
Beyond this small perimeter, it is actually plain plain. The sidewalks are empty, the shops too. "Normally, the first Saturday of sales is the biggest of the year," says a young saleswoman at Cojean, a specialist in high-end sandwiches. In the room, barely a dozen customers are seated. "Even at Christmas, it was like that when we normally enjoy the activity of nearby department stores. But this year, with the Yellow Vests, it was not the case. "
Another shopping street in the center of the capital, the boulevard des Italiens also seems to be shunned by walkers. In a store specializing in women's underwear, customers are scarce despite half price items: "Today, we made 40% less sales than the first Saturday of 2018 sales, details a seller. We hope that the next sales will work better, but I have the impression that people have changed their habits with yellow vests and they go to other neighborhoods … "
Even cinemas are affected by repeated protests on this usually swarming artery of the capital. In the vast pizzeria bar La Taverne, only a handful of guests consume. "Since early December, it's like that every Saturday, I think we have 40 to 50% less activity than usual, says a room manager. Hard to say if it's the yellow vests effect. A lot of customers are worried about the first collection at the end of January, and pay attention by then. "
The Maison du Monde store on Avenue de Montmartre is one of the two most affected stores in the Paris decoration industry. This Saturday, his manager was confronted with a double disappointment: "The return of the Yellow Vests, but also the dramatic explosion of the street of Treviso nearby and whose surrounding streets have all been closed. I would say we did 20 to 30% less activity than usual today. "
And for the future? "We will quickly turn the page sales and present the news. In the trade you know, there is a saying: what is lost is lost. "