Amazon is suspending advertising related to pre-Black Friday campaigns in France after coming under fire from at least one government official who said it was unfair for the online giant to flex its digital retail muscle just as a new pandemic shutdown forces small shops and restaurants to close, Reuters reported.
“[It’s] not at all appropriate at a time when 200,000 businesses will have to shut their doors,” Junior Economy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runchaer said in response to a question about the advertising campaign on Europe 1 radio, according to Reuters.
As to whether Amazon eventually will be allowed to resume the campaign, she reportedly added: “It’s a matter we will have to work on with all retailers.”
The latest round of shutdowns comes amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in the eurozone and following a sharp rebound in the region’s economy.
France, along with the other 15 eurozone countries, has ordered the closing of restaurants, bars and shops deemed non-essential, although factories will be allowed to operate.
The new closings follow the release of data late last week by Eurostat, the European Union statistics service, showing a dramatic increase in eurozone countries gross domestic product in the third calendar quarter.
France led the quarter-to-quarter increase, with a jump of 18.2 percent, according to Eurostat. Spain, Italy and Portugal were close behind.
Tension over Black Friday retail campaigns in Europe is nothing new. Bloomberg reported in November 2019 that protestors in France used the day for demonstrations outside Amazon’s French headquarters, criticizing the company as a symbol of capitalism and environmentally dangerous policies.
Black Friday has become increasingly popular among shoppers and retailers in the United Kingdom and Continental Europe, even without the Thanksgiving holiday preceding it.
Amazon on Thursday (Oct. 29) reported solid third quarter earnings, with executives attributing them in large part to the ability of the company’s fulfillment operation to executive even amid the huge spike in demand caused by the pandemic.