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Yellow Vest Protests in France Continue to Impact Supermarket Sales

Deliveries increased 3% on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, after three Saturdays of decline
Most affected cities are Avignon and Saint-Etienne with a 37% decline of total store turnover in hypermarkets and supermarkets
Paris remains resilient, with only a 6% decline compared to the most impacted regions
Consumer goods sales fell 16% on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018

New York – Dec. 12, 2018 – In France, “Yellow Vest” protests sparked by economic concerns continue to hit retail sales. The most recent demonstrations on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, resulted in an average 16% drop in the sales of consumer goods across the country compared to Saturdays since the start of the September school year. The impact is further felt in a period crucial to the success of the holiday sales season, with an 8% decline observed the previous Saturday.

Deliveries have bounced back, however, with a 3% increase in deliveries on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, after three straight Saturdays of declines due to traffic and access difficulties at points of sale. Nielsen also noted an acceleration in deliveries on Thursday and Friday, likely reflecting catch-up from the previous Saturday and anticipation of possible difficulties during the weekend.

Paris has remained relatively resilient with only a 6% decline on average for the first three Saturdays of protests, while the most impacted urban areas have seen their hypermarkets and supermarkets lose more than a third of their total sales (including mass consumption and non-food sales) during the same period. Of the 10 most impacted cities in France, three are located in the Nord and Pas-de-Calais (Douai-Lens, Béthune and Valenciennes) areas and two in Lorraine (Nancy and Metz).

But the most marked declines are the points of sale around Avignon and Saint-Etienne, with an average decline of 37% on the three Saturdays tracked. Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, showed the highest decline, with decreases exceeding 50% in several regions including Rouen (-58%) and Nancy (-60%).

These latest numbers are part of an ongoing analysis of the impact of the “Yellow Vest” movement on supermarket and hypermarket sales, conducted by Nielsen. In order to highlight local disparities, Nielsen consolidated the results of the first three “Yellow Vest” episodes, occurring on Nov. 17, 2018, Nov. 24, 2018, and Dec. 1, 2018.

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Genevieve Aronson

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