(Bloomberg)—Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the 2020 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000, lost its fight to be able to sell nonessential items in France after failing to convince judges it had taken measures to protect workers from the coronavirus.
The Versailles appeals court said in a Friday ruling that Amazon should restrict deliveries to mostly foodstuffs, health items and computer products. Amazon has said that last week’s order from a lower court to sell only essential food, hygiene and health products was too ambiguous and temporarily stopped all orders.
“The lower court judges have to be backed when they firmly remind Amazon of its responsibility in preserving the health of its employees in the current sanitary crisis when the COVID-19 is highly contagious,” the Versailles judges said.
Representatives for Amazon in France didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The court added that as long as Amazon’s French unit hasn’t evaluated risks and put in place appropriate safety measures, it can’t restart its activities without limiting the number of people on each site.
France is Amazon’s third-biggest market in Europe. The defeat underscores its difficulties in the country as the company fends off challenges from unions in other markets. The setback may increase the risk that other regions restrict the retail giant’s deliveries in an attempt to keep a handle on the spread of the virus.
Amazon shut operations at distribution centers in France starting on April 16, filling orders from warehouses in neighboring countries. That move has cut its market share and caused a 28% drop in demand for its products in the first week of the suspension, according to data analytics company Foxintelligence.
A request for an urgent ruling at a lower court was lodged by labor unions earlier this month, arguing that Amazon wasn’t doing enough to protect employees’ health. Amazon appealed the subsequent ban on the delivery of non-essential items issued last week.