La crisis energética empaña el espíritu festivo en las tiendas de Europa.

REUTERS: PARIS This year, it's hard for European stores to find the right balance when it comes to their Christmas displays. They have to create enough holiday cheer to make customers with tight budgets feel better while also taking into account the effects of the energy crisis.

Businesses from Madrid to Frankfurt will use less energy by using fewer and more efficient lights and turning off their heat earlier in the evening. This is to show support for families who are struggling to pay rising utility costs.

This year, Paris, which is sometimes called the “City of Lights,” will also have less light.

Even though stores in France want to start celebrating again after the pandemic put a stop to it, they are worried that this Christmas could be the worst in at least a decade because people plan to spend less because of the rising cost of living. In response, the French government has put in place what it calls “sobriety measures.” These come at a time when stores are trying to attract customers with events and fancy window displays.

Marc-Antoine Jamet, the head of a group that looks out for the shops on Paris's famous Avenue des Champs-Elysees, said, “It would be terrible to have nothing, but it would be stupid to keep doing everything the same way.”

Jean-Marc Bellaiche, president of Printemps, one of the biggest department stores in Paris, told Reuters that it was “reviving this huge tradition” of having animated Christmas windows.

He said that the energy crisis has sped up plans to “lower consumption to be a good citizen both socially and environmentally.”

He said that the shop has been moving quickly toward its goal of switching to LED lighting and has been turning off its nighttime lights since September. It will have less time for its puppets in the window displays to do acrobatic tricks.

LESS COLD

In order to get ready for the next cold season, the French government has taken the lead in telling people to use less energy. Cities are turning down their lights, and companies like Carrefour and Vinci, which runs airports, are lowering the temperature in their buildings.

The thermostats have also been turned down at La Samaritaine, a department store in the center of Paris that is owned by LVMH.

Eleanore de Boysson, president of DFS's European and Middle Eastern operations for parent company LVMH, says that the effect is big.

She also mentioned other “small” things, like turning off or dimming some lights in the store and offices while they are being cleaned in the wee hours of the morning. As part of the show's opening ceremony, ballet dancers performed in the storefront windows in front of a dark background.

At the end of the month, champagne-colored, energy-efficient holiday lights will be put on the trees along the Champs Elysees. But the lights will go out earlier than usual, and the show will end one week earlier than usual.

They will use half as much electricity as last year's show, so Jamet said, “The goal is to use as little electricity as possible.” That's about how much electricity a small apartment for two people needs for a year.

El Corte Ingles, a Spanish department store, will decorate its stores with nativity scenes made of lights. It will use energy-efficient bulbs from last year to do this, but it will do so according to the schedules set by local authorities. For example, in Madrid, the lights will be turned on an hour later than in years past.

Frankfurt, the financial capital of Germany, has decided not to limit the number of Christmas lights at its markets. However, the city has shrunk its Christmas tree to use less electricity.

Richemont, which owns Cartier, had an earnings call on Friday. During the call, people talked about how to talk about luxury goods in light of the rising cost of living.

Richemont's leaders have said that the company is moving slowly because of recent events in Europe and the United States.

When asked about the recent reopening of Cartier's restored flagship store on Rue de la Paix in Paris, manager Cyrille Vigneron said, “We did some special invitations inside, but nothing big because it wasn't the right thing to do.”

We expected that the moods in London and Paris would be quiet.

La crisis energética empaña el espíritu festivo en las tiendas de Europa

(Reporte de Mimosa Spencer; Reporte adicional de Corina Rodriguez y Hans Seidenstuecker; Edición de Vanessa O'Connell, Matt Scuffham y Alison Williams)

 

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