29 September, 2013

National and local factors may lead the issue of the stores working on Sundays to be... reopened

The current evolution of the debate about the Sunday opening of stores on a national scale may have consequencies about the policy implemented for years on that issue by Angers Loire Métropole (Alm). That authority had decided to prohibit for store owners or managers to work on Sunday. More than a year ago, a debate took place between Alm, Maine-et-Loire prefecture, local trade unions and the owner of the Leclerc superstore of Saint-Jean-de-Linières. After months of opening every Sunday morning, the  commercial centre was finally led to close during that period.

Because facts are stubborn, the topic had to resurface one time or another. First, the store owners of Angers down town demanded the right to open their doors on the two Sundays before Christmas and New Year days. After a negative answer from local authorities in 2012, their president announced they got from Angers city council the right to work during those days in 2013, because of the importance of those periods for their turnover. Another trade community, some of the store managers of the Atoll commercial park, sent the same question last summer to the Angers representatives, without any answer until now.

But they have reasons to hope. On one hand, because the Angers mayor, Frédéric Béatse, pointed out in 2013 he was not, as a matter of principle, opposed to such an idea. Another economic fact may lead the future mayors members of the Alm board to reconsider their stance : the level of unemployement which continuously increases in the Angers and surroundings area for years is now close to 11%.  This late parameter and the attractiveness of the city centre could become important themes in the 2014 municipal elections. That will help candidates' states of mind to evolve.

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