France

French DIY stores open for business on Sunday

French home improvement stores allowed to stay open on Sundays
French home improvement stores allowed to stay open on Sundays Hill Street Studios

Home improvement shops across France remained open on Sunday, breaking a long-standing tradition of shuttering for a day of rest at the end of the week while the government reviews complex trading laws.

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The French government announced on Tuesday that home improvement stores may remain open on Sundays until 1 July 2015.

Sunday’s in France have been enshrined as a day of rest since 1906 but a plethora of clauses and exemptions have complicated matters.

Retailers in bustling, high touristy areas could remain open, food shops until 1:00 pm and gardening and furniture stores could stay open, while DIY stores were forced to close.

Critics said the law prevented workers wanting to work from gaining an extra day of employment and slowed growth in Europe's second largest economy during turbulent economic times.

Now nearly 180 stores are able to open their doors until France is able to an overhaul of the law by mid-Summer.

Jean-Claude Bourrelier, CEO of Bricorama, told Agence France Presse that 33 of their stores, including 27 in the Paris region, stayed open on Sunday.

Bourrelier added that only one or two stores were not able to organise in time to open today.

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