Sephora's Parisian flagship on the famous Champs-Élysées has stayed open until midnight -- 1 a.m. on weekends -- since 1996.
But a recent ruling by the French Constitutional Council has mandated that Sephora now close its store at 9 p.m. sharp. It's a blow for the retailer, who told WWD that the Champs-Élysées location makes about 20 percent of its sales after 9 p.m.
To combat the mandate, Sephora has pointed out that it has more job applicants for the late night shift (which pays overtime) than any other, and that eliminating that shift would eliminate the jobs that go with it. Employees took out a full page ad in a weekend edition of newspaper Le Figaro last September, featuring a hand-written petition signed by 90 people who said they wanted to work and keep the store open late.
The mandate is part of a series of union-initiated moves aimed at retailers who keep late hours, working in conjunction with a law stating retailers cannot be open later than 9 p.m. (The French are very stringent about maintaining their particular brand of work ethic, which includes 35-hour work weeks.) A new bill which would have allowed retailers to stay open later in areas of high tourist traffic was voted down in December by France's National Assembly.
We have reached out to Sephora's Parisian offices for more information will update when we hear back.