France says DIY stores can open on Sundays

Home improvement stores will be allowed to open on Sundays it has been announced after a fierce debate over the country's strict laws on trading on the traditional day of rest.

France says DIY stores can open on Sundays
French shoppers will have more time to ponder in DIY stores on Sundays. Photo: Paul Reynolds/Flickr

Retailers can only open on a Sunday under certain conditions — if they are located in a tourist or a high-density area, for example. Any shop selling food can operate until 1:00 pm.

But the rules have infuriated workers who want to work Sundays at a time of sky high unemployment, and drawn criticism that they are archaic and ill-suited to a time of economic hardship.

Some 180 stores will now be able to trade on Sundays until July 1, 2015, to allow time for a revamp of the law, according to a decree published in France's official journal and signed by Labour Minister Michel Sapin.

They include Castorama and Leroy-Merlin, which made headlines in September when they rebelled against the ban and opened 14 of their stores to the public on a Sunday.

Sapin said the stores had pledged to implement measures to compensate employees working Sundays, including doubling their salaries.

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