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Amazon France CEO says French lockdown boosted sales

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PARIS (Reuters) - Online retail giant Amazon, which has been operating during the French lockdown, has seen a boost in activity in the range of 40%-50%, the head of Amazon France said on Wednesday.

France entered a second national lockdown on Oct. 30 and it is set to last at least until early December. Curbs include the closure of non-essential stores, restaurants and bars.

“Business increased with the lockdown,” Amazon’s Frederic Duval told France Inter radio, adding that the French online retail federation FEVAD figures recorded activity rising 40%-50% and “this is more or less what we are seeing”.

Duval gave no indication that Amazon could cancel its “Black Friday” discount shopping day on Nov. 27 at a time when small shops, which have been struggling to compete against Amazon, are closed.

“The French need to do their Christmas shopping and they need to make savings. This period at the end of November is very important for that and it is very important to offer that opportunity,” he said.

“What I hope is that small shopkeepers that were prevented from opening during the lockdown can reopen as soon as possible and if they can do that on Nov. 27, it’s perfect,”

Recent data have shown signs France was starting to curb the spread of the virus with its lockdown.

Shopowners have called on the government to be allowed to reopen for the Nov. 27-29 “Black Friday” discount weekend.

A discount shopping day that takes place worldwide, Black Friday usually coincides with the Friday of the U.S. Thanksgiving Weekend.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Louise Heavens and Edmund Blair

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