PARIS, Dec 8 (Reuters) - The head of Carrefour, Europe’s largest retailer, said on Monday he was against opening large hypermarkets on Sundays in France but backed the idea for smaller food stores in city centers.
Easing restrictions on Sunday opening is one of the flagship reforms promised by the Socialist French government in its bid to kickstart economic growth and create jobs, but it faces resistance from labour unions and in some cases from management who fear their costs will exceed the benefits.
Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron is due to present legislation this week to let shops open up to 12 Sundays a year from five currently, with more flexibility in tourist areas.
“I favour (Sunday) openings for food stores and much less, even not at all, for hypermarkets,” Plassat told France Inter radio.
“There are three million people working on Sundays, they have a right to feed themselves,” he added.
Hypermarkets, located outside city centers and selling food and non-food items such as clothing or consumer electronics, may not generate enough traffic to offset the costs of keeping the stores open, analysts say.
Plassat also said that Carrefour would receive 110 million euros in 2014 from the CICE tax credit for competitiveness and employment, a government measure to encourage companies to beef up staffing levels.
Carrefour, which is France’s largest private sector employer with a staff of 150,000, had created 9,500 jobs thanks to the measure, he said.
Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Andrew Callus