Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 30 November 2020

Galeries Lafayette says coronavirus crisis could halve 2020 earnings

The French high-end department store chain fears foreign tourist flows may not regain pre-crisis levels before 2024

Galeries Lafayette, which endured two lockdowns to rein in coronavirus infections in France this year, backs postponing Black Friday discount shopping sales to December 4. Getty
Galeries Lafayette, which endured two lockdowns to rein in coronavirus infections in France this year, backs postponing Black Friday discount shopping sales to December 4. Getty

Galeries Lafayette expects the coronavirus pandemic to halve its revenue this year, its chief executive said on Friday.

The French high-end department store chain fears foreign tourist flows may not regain pre-crisis levels before 2024.

"This year our revenue will be cut in half. 2020 will be difficult for our results, 2021 also. We should return to break-even in 2022," chief executive Nicolas Houze said.

Retailers, especially those who depend heavily on tourists, have been hit hard by government-enforced lockdowns to curb the virus and restrictions on international travel.

Foreign tourists account for more than 60 per cent of the customers of the group's flagship Haussmann store in central Paris.

"The scenario which seems the most realistic is one that has foreign tourists return from the last quarter of 2021, but this would be at 30 per cent below what it was in 2019. There will not be a return to pre-crisis traffic before 2024," Mr Houze said.

Galeries Lafayette, which has had to endure two lockdowns to rein in coronavirus infections in France this year, backs postponing ‘Black Friday’ discount shopping sales to December 4 if in return stores can reopen soon, he added.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire had called on retailers to postpone Black Friday, which runs from November 27 to November 29, as shops selling non-essential goods have to remain closed during a lockdown slated to last until December 1.

"What is key is being able to open our stores. If this means delaying Black Friday, there is no discussion ... if we can reopen from November 27 or November 28, it is excellent news," he said.

Online retail giant Amazon, which has seen sales surge under lockdown, has joined France's Carrefour, Europe's biggest retailer, and French retailer Leclerc in agreeing to the delay.

Updated: November 20, 2020 05:25 PM

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