First fines against “dark stores” in Paris

The City has initiated 47 proceedings against facilities deemed illegal. Two first penalty payments have just been transmitted to Flink.

The “dark stores”, these mini-warehouses promising to deliver groceries at home in less than fifteen minutes, have life getting harder and harder in Paris. Opposed for a good year to the actors of this express trade (Flink, Gorillaz, GoPuff and other Getir), the City has initiated 47 legal and administrative proceedings against installations deemed illegal. The first two administrative penalties (at the rate of 200 euros per day, up to a limit of 25,000 euros per premises) have just been transmitted to Flink.

“Dark stores are not businesses, but warehouses, insists Emmanuel Grégoire, first deputy mayor of Paris. They settled without asking for any authorization, whereas they must obtain a change of destination of the premises before opening. 80% of them are illegal. In addition, I receive dozens of emails a day from angry residents, who complain about nuisances”.

An order expected soon

The phenomenon appeared with the Covid. Dozens of new kind of mini-warehouses have opened in the heart of the city: closed to customers, they generate a permanent parade of couriers, responsible for delivering orders placed on the Internet as quickly as possible. The excitement was such that the town halls of several large cities (Paris in the lead, but also Marseille, Lille, Lyon, Nice, Nantes or Bordeaux) rose up this summer against a draft government decree which could have facilitated the establishment of these structures in their cities. These elected officials prevailed.

According to Bercy, the decree which should be published in December will finally give town halls the means to regulate the location of these dark stores: as they should be considered as warehouses, towns will be able to decide in their local urban planning plans (PLU ), to ban them in certain areas. “The government decree takes up most of the arguments of the City of Paris and urban France”welcomes Emmanuel Grégoire, who did not wait for its publication to tackle the problem.

According to him, there are now around 100 “dark stores” in the capital, after a peak of 150. “50% have already closed under the effects of market regulation (bankruptcies, takeovers, etc.) and 50% on the recommendation of their lawyers”, he says.

Better accepted “pedestrian drives”

Anxious “to do everything to keep the city active, with businesses”, Emmanuel Grégoire, on the other hand, is not opposed to the “pedestrian drive”, “provided you can decide where it’s acceptable”. These drives have been opened by major distributors (Leclerc, Auchan, etc.), so that their customers can come and collect their orders placed on the Internet. “Concerning the pedestrian drive, consultation with economic players and local residents’ associations is still in progress, we assure the cabinet of Olivia Grégoire. Their classification is not completely fixed. They do not seem to be opposed by elected officials and residents.

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