Marseille: Between garbage collectors' strike, demonstrations and Covid-19, the Christmas spirit is not there for traders

Spirit of Christmas are you there? In the shopping streets of the center of Marseille , shopkeepers try to keep smiling. “It’s important for customers,” says Monique, manager of an accessories store on rue Saint-Ferréol. is not the easiest. “Basically, with the Covid – 19 , the period is complicated for everyone ”, advances Nicole Verspieren, vice-president of commerce of CPME (Confederation of small and medium-sized enterprises) which holds a wine and spirits shop close to the Old Port. “From now on, there are demonstrations every Saturday afternoon and we are screwing up the half-day. It used to be our best days, now it’s Fridays, ”she notes. “And finally, we have the garbage collectors’ strike “, she annoys.

“You have to put gifts under the tree”

Guillaume Sicard, president of the Marseille-center merchant association which federates 600 establishments, puts into perspective. “The metropolis is making efforts to keep the heart of the city clean enough. Then it’s still a Christmas period, it works, you have to put gifts under the tree. ”

But the fact remains that these repeated pitfalls” are discouraging “, adds Nicole Verspieren. With “the renovations of the streets of the center, the facades of buildings and the installation of young people with new concepts”, the city center seemed to be on the right track. “There have been a lot of positive advances, and the city center was reborn from these ashes”, goes so far as to say the vice-president of commerce of the CPME . “It is all the more unfortunate”, she notes.

“The Marseillais prefer to move to Aix”

Without however falling into catastrophism. “We are not to be pitied”, continues Monique who notes however “a deterioration of the situation”. The shopkeeper also deplores the insecurity and an increase in thefts and the strike of the garbage collectors did not help matters after the anti-pass demonstrations “which forced the curtains to be drawn down for two or three hours”

All this is far from discouraging Sandra, who came to perform her firsts shopping on her break time. “I prefer to travel to come do my Christmas shopping, I like to be in the holiday mood. The young woman, also a shopkeeper, is keen to garnish the feet of her tree with gift ideas that she finds on the spot, satisfied with the offer of shops in her city. But as a shopkeeper, she emphasizes: “the Marseillais prefer to move to Aix, it is quieter.”