PARIS — It’s against the law to buy Louis Vuitton on Sunday.

At least that’s what a court here ruled on Wednesday, when it ordered Vuitton to close its Champs-Elysées flagship on Sundays after a complaint from a French labor union.

A spokesman for Vuitton parent LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton criticized the ruling as part of an ideological debate that undermined customer service and business in France.

He added that it would threaten the jobs of the 70 extra workers Vuitton hired to operate the store an extra day a week. Unemployment in France is close to 10 percent.

He said LVMH was likely to appeal the decision when the company receives the complete ruling in two to three weeks.

“There are 5,000 to 10,000 shoppers who visit the store on Sundays, mostly tourists,” he said. “They now will have to go to Milan or London [to buy Vuitton on Sundays].”

The CFTC, or French Confederation of Christian Workers labor union — which doesn’t actually have any members employed at the store — brought the complaint to court. It claimed Vuitton was setting a dangerous precedent in a country where the majority of shops are obligated to close on Sundays.

Vuitton, for its part, had gained a preliminary city approval last year to stay open on Sundays after a major renovation that included the addition of an art exhibit space. In Paris, museums are allowed to stay open on Sundays. The CFTC claimed Vuitton’s museum was fake and merely created to sidestep regulations meant to protect workers.

The LVMH spokesman said 100 percent of the store’s workers had voted in favor of the unit remaining open on Sundays. He said the store would have to begin closing on Sundays in about three weeks, according to the ruling.

But, he added, LVMH would study all options, including remaining open in contravention of the ruling and paying a weekly fine.

This story first appeared in the June 1, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus