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French protests have also taken a toll on online retailers - Fevad

French protests have also taken a toll on online retailers - Fevad
A man wearing a yellow vest and holding a French flag stands on a bridge near the Nantes Atlantique Airport as the "yellow vests" movement continues, in Bouguenais, France, December 11, 2018. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe   -   Copyright  STEPHANE MAHE(Reuters)
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By Dominique Vidalon

PARIS (Reuters) – Four weeks of anti-government protests that have hit French brick-and-mortar retailers are also taking their toll on online peers during the crucial Christmas shopping season, said the country’s Fevad E-Commerce Federation.

Online retailers were expected to have benefited from disruption to major shopping areas due to the protests.

However, a Fevad survey of its members over the first nine days of December showed online sales were flat on a year-on-year basis during the period.

“It seems there is no carry-over effect for online retailers. The feedback we get is that it’s very quiet, it’s flat. It’s not the growth that was expected,” a Fevad spokeswoman told Reuters.

“There is a psychological impact from the events and the next 10 ten days will be crucial,” she added.

In early November – before the protests started – Fevad had predicted that the French would spend 19 billion euros (17.38 billion pounds) on online purchases over Christmas and the Black Friday to Cyber Monday sales days in November.

That in turn ought to have lifted total online retail sales to over 90 billion euros for 2018, added Fevad at the time.

When asked to discuss its performance, Amazon <AMZN.O> – which is France’s largest online retailer – said: “As usual, year-end festivities are a time of strong activity.”

French retailers have lost at least 1 billion euros in revenue since the protests began around a month ago, the FCD retail federation has said.

Unlisted retailer Auchan [AUCH.UL] told Reuters this week it lost 100 million euros in revenue as 60 of its 120 hypermarkets had experienced disruptions due to the protests.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has also forecast that the protests would trim 0.1 percent of a point off national output.

Some demonstrators are calling for a fifth Saturday of protests.

($1 = 0.8788 euros)

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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