French companies hurt by 'yellow vests' protests - Whisper Eye

French companies hurt by ‘yellow vests’ protests

French companies have this week revealed some 60 million euros ($69 million) of lost business from anti-government protests rocking the country, which could augur badly for the likes of supermarket chains Casino and Carrefour.

Shares in retailer FNAC Darty fell on Thursday after the electronics goods retailer estimated a revenue hit of some 45 million euros from the closure of stores during the protests and fewer shoppers.

With no sign of the protests ending, Air France KLM said the unrest had reduced sales by 15 million euros — a relatively small figure for the Franco-Dutch airline but enough to push its shares down too.

The “yellow vests” (‘gilets jaunes’) movement – named after the fluorescent jackets all French motorists carry in their vehicles – started in the middle of November as a protest against a fuel tax but has since grown into a broader backlash against the government.

The demonstrations have been marred by violence that has led to shopping districts and tourist hotspots having to close down on some weekends.

“The impact will be felt first and foremost with those companies with a physical presence on the high street, such as FNAC Darty. But others will also be impacted, such as hotels group Accor since the ‘gilets jaunes’ has been negative for tourism in Paris,” said Meriem Mokdad, fund manager at Roche Brune Asset Management.

Catering and food services group Sodexo warned it had concerns for later this year. Sodexo owns Paris cabaret Le Lido, the Yachts de Paris luxury river cruising business and has the catering contract for a restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. “We are more worried about the impact of the protests on the spring-summer tourism season,” said CEO Denis Machuel