French laws banning dark stores have killed fast food chains

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Operators of France's once-thriving "dark stores" are permanently closing their doors after suffering severe financial losses and hostile new regulations.

Leading companies Getir and Gorillas ceased to exist in France on Wednesday.

During the Covid lockdown, the city center depositories, which promised immediate deliveries of common grocery items, grew.

However, the dark stores can no longer be categorized as shops but only as warehouses as a result of complaints from the locals and worries about unfair competition.

The two leading companies in "ultra-quick commerce," Getir, a Turkish company, and Germany's Flink, had already announced they were leaving France before the new rules went into effect on July 1.

Getir, which also owns Gorillas and Frichti, stated in a statement that the choice was "inevitable due to the challenging economic environment, a hostile regulatory environment, and a lack of potential buyers.".

Getir and Gorillas have now been formally declared to be in liquidation by a commercial court in Paris, resulting in the loss of 1,300 jobs. Frichti now had three more months to look for a potential buyer. Flink's fate will be decided by the court later in the summer.

At their height, 80 locations were run by 12 different operators just in Paris. About 2,200 people were employed overall in the sector, the majority on long-term contracts.

Parisian city officials were ecstatic about the withdrawal. Deputy mayor Emmanuel Grégoire invoked their "predatory capitalistic behavior" and declared, "The dark stores are over.".

Dark stores typically had a blank front to the street with only the company name on a frosted window. There were racks of frequently purchased items inside that were packed into bags and ready to be given to couriers.

Locals, however, complained about the constant noise made by delivery teams, and city planners claimed that the model threatened to rob public spaces of life and turn consumers into housebound individuals.

Deliveroo and other online businesses that collaborate with supermarkets to deliver food will still be able to do so in France.   .

Ironically, according to proponents of "quick commerce," employees of dark stores, who were employed on full-time contracts, were better protected than the independent couriers used by online platforms.

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