Retail

Why French lawmakers want to ban Black Friday promotions

by Herve Dewintre
29 Nov 2019

Born in the United States, Black Friday has progressively been gaining weight in France since 2013. It is a highly anticipated day during which significant promotions are offered, not only in fashion but also in other consumer products. In France, Black Friday is predicted to see a record 5.9 billion euros in spending this year, up 4 percent from 2018.

But is Black Friday synonymous with good deals? A price comparison study conducted by the UFC-Que Choisir revealed that the average actual reduction is, in fact, less than 2 percent, indicating that the shopping bonanza is perhaps nothing more than an extravagant marketing ploy.

It was mainly on the basis of this study that French MPs and former Minister of Ecology Delphine Batho brought a measure before the French Parliament to end Black Friday in the country. It took the form of an amendment to the anti-waste bill. The amendment, which also concerns Cyber Monday, will be discussed in the National Assembly in December.

If the amendment is implemented in practice, Black Friday promotions would be considered “aggressive commercial practices”, which under French law is punishable with a two-year prison term and a 300,000 euro fine.

The war against overconsumption

French MPs’ move to end the shopping bonanza is a double-edged issue. On the one hand, it is a pragmatic question of combating misleading advertising and protecting the consumer against abusive practices; while at the same time it is also about fighting against "over-consumption". MP Matthieu Orphelin, a former member of the LREM party, said: “Black Friday celebrates a model of consumption that is anti-ecological and anti-social.”

This statement is part of a growing societal movement. On Monday, on French TV channel BFM, the French ecological transition minister Elisabeth Borne also warned against the "consumption frenzy" associated with Black Friday and criticized its impact on the environment. Several groups of environmental activists have also planned to take action throughout France on Friday, some even promising a major civil disobedience action in Paris.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.fr, translated and edited.

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