The government, after consultation with local elected officials, will issue a decree in the coming days to put an end to the “fuzziness” on the “dark stores”.

In this decree to come, “dark stores are considered in terms of sub-destination as warehouses, whether or not there is a withdrawal point”, indicated the Minister Delegate for Trade Olivia Grégoire at the end of a meeting with the elected officials concerned in Paris.

By becoming warehouses, and no longer shops, these places may be forced to close if the local urban plan (PLU) prohibits this type of activity at their address.

Regarding another activity, the “dark kitchens” which prepare meals which will then be delivered to homes, “it has been agreed with elected officials to create a new specific category”, said the government in a press release.

– Administrative closures in sight? –

The text should be a “tool so that local authorities and mayors can regulate, ban them or not according to their wishes”, summarized Olivia Grégoire who ensures that “this is not the end of dark stores” however.

“Quick commerce”, whose major players are Cajoo, Gorillas, Getir, Flink and even Gopuff, has emerged thanks to the confinements and the Covid-19 epidemic since 2020 and offers the delivery of everyday products, similar to those for sale in a city center mini-market, in a few minutes.

But this activity is criticized by many elected officials around the world, who denounce pell-mell, the arrival of “warehouse cities”, the nuisances for local residents, even “the economy of laziness”.

Last March, the mayor of Paris had asked for the closure of 45 “dark stores” which were “illegally created” in the capital, the town planning services considering them as warehouses whereas they had settled in commercial buildings.

In mid-August, she had denounced a draft ministerial decree which would have allowed them to be considered as places of commerce or catering, as long as they have a collection point for the public.

Finally, they are indeed warehouses and the companies which have not made the changes of destination of the premises will be in violation and will “very probably” have to close at the end of the legal procedure, according to Olivier Klein, Minister Delegate for the City and the Lodging. Procedures that can however take some time.

The bad students “have no escape today”, rejoiced the deputy for urban planning at the town hall of Paris, Emmanuel Grégoire, also very critical of their social model.

– Activity in progress –

In France, the activity of “quick commerce” is on the rise, explains to AFP Emily Mayer, expert in consumer products at IRI, with an overall turnover of 224 million euros over the period August 2021. -July 2022, compared to 146 million euros in revenue for the 2021 calendar year.

Note however that of these 224 million euros in sales, 125 are, according to the specialist, made by Frichti, which also delivers meals, but which was bought by Gorillas last March. The Turkish Getir, for his part, published a turnover of 2.4 million euros for the year 2021, for losses of 22.5 million euros, as revealed in early August by the specialized media LSA .

Despite these unspectacular figures – the whole of the sector selling in France the equivalent of a single large hypermarket, estimated another specialized media, Linéaires -, and despite a new difficulty in raising funds from investors who now favor activities profitable in the shorter term, specialists are rather optimistic that a demand exists.

In a press release Tuesday evening to AFP, Gorillas prefers to wait to know “the content of the decrees” and intends “to continue discussions with the ministry”, “before making any decisions on a possible evolution of its model”.