PARIS — Sephora can no longer burn the midnight oil.
The Court of Cassation here has confirmed that Sephora’s flagship on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées must close daily at 9 p.m.
The unit had in the past been allowed to open until midnight during the week and 1 a.m. on the weekend, with 20 percent of the unit’s sales rung up after 9 p.m.
But France’s court of last resort deemed that night hours are not inherent to the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned perfumery chain’s activity.
A Sephora spokeswoman had no comment.
In a judgment published Sept. 24 the court, referring to a French work code, wrote that “a night shift cannot be the normal mode of organization within a company and must not be implemented unless it is indispensible to its functioning.”
It is a final judgment and the latest in a series of legal steps spanning months.
In April, the French Constitutional Council upheld a French court’s ruling about the 9 p.m. close time dating from September 2013, which was contested by Sephora. That case was originally brought by the Paris Retail Trade Union Liaison Committee, known as Clic-P.
Store closing times have been an incendiary topic in France.
In September, following the court’s ruling, Sephora published a statement saying “more than 50 people, all volunteers, have been employed to allow the store to be open for the Champs-Élysées’ touristic clientele until midnight during the week and 1 a.m. the weekend.” It also said Sephora’s night shift, for which employees get paid extra, had drawn more applicants than the number of posts available.
Not all retailers on the Champs-Elysées have been hit with the same ruling. The flagship of rival perfumery Marionnaud’, a few doors away from Sephora, remains open until midnight seven days a week.
Prior to the September decision, Sephora’s employees took out a full-page advertisement in Le Figaro newspaper’s Sept. 14 edition, saying: “We want to continue working at night.” It also included a hand-written petition signed by about 90 people and said that a 9 p.m. closing was not only “unfavorable to us employees, but also to our clients.”