Sète authorities have deemed that shops must not stay open after 10pm, after months of negotiations and complaints by locals.
During the peak season of July and August, some shops will be allowed to stay open until midnight, and then open again at 7am.
“They cut off my oxygen!” said Mohammed Berrahou, proprietor of the oldest grocer in Sète.
Some grocers have recorded nearly 40% of their takings during the night, when the supermarkets are closed. “I had planned to do some work on my premises, but I had to give up the idea, and this order came unexpectedly. I am prevented from working, and the mayor has not wanted to hear our demands, but I hoped he would understand our situation, and today I am stuck and my turnover is falling.”
Mohammed Berrahou has tried to ignore this municipal decision but without success. “The first few weeks, I remained open after 10 pm, but eventually they were outside my shop every night from 9:50pm, and they forced me to close. Really, I do not understand.”
“I have old customers who call me at midnight or later to find out if I am open. As I tell them that I no longer have the right, they fall back on the grocery stores in Montpellier who are allowed to remain open until the morning, “insisted the merchant.
The same goes for another grocer in the city centre, who preferred to remain anonymous. “It’s a blow – since the new rule I have nearly 50% less sales, and after 10 pm I am not even allowed to clean up my shop. “
Authorities from the town hall said “The feedback we received from local residents forced us to take this measure.