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Paris department stores open on Sundays

media Le Printemps à Paris. AFP/Thomas Samson

Sunday shopping at Paris's prestigious department stores is becoming a reality.

French government has finally chipped away at laws preventing shops opening on Sunday.

In August 2015, former economy minister Emmanuel Macron spearheaded the first initiative of its kind to create special international tourism zones where shops could operate on Sunday.

That was a particularly important move for Paris, but its famous department stores and luxury boutiques lining Boulevard Haussmann and the Champs Elysées had to stay shut.

  • Printemps plans to open its doors on Sundays in a few months.
    It finally got enough union support for its wage package for Sunday openings, the last of Paris's major department stores to strike a deal.
  • Galeries Lafayette makes its first regular opening on Sunday 8 January.
    This major department store based on Boulevard Haussmann is a particularly popular destination for cash-rich Chinese visitors.
  • Le Bon Marché, also plans to begin Sunday shopping after reaching a deal with unions in 2015.
  • BHV has been opening its doors since July 2015.
    The store near Paris city hall was the first to strike an agreement with unions in November 2015.

The implementation of the 2015 reform was delayed however as stores negotiated with unions on pay conditions.

Working on Sundays remains controversial, although high unemployment and the higher wages on offer have helped to soften opposition.

Sales increasing by 10 percent

Six months later, "the results are extremely positive, with sales increasing by 10 percent since the Sunday openings," BHV's management told AFP.

That beat the forecast of a 6-8 percent gain that the store made when it began Sunday shopping.

"Since September, Sunday has become the second best sales day for BHV Marais, behind Saturday," said Galeries Lafayette group, which owns the store.

And it isn't only tourists who are availing themselves of Sunday shopping hours.

"There is undoubtedly a real appetite from the public, especially those who shop regularly in the adjacent streets in the Marais to drop by BHV now as well," said the company.

It also noted new clients visiting the store, both from the neighbourhood and the greater Paris region, who said they didn't have time to shop there other days of the week.

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