Paris and Amsterdam Go Harder on Dark Stores! Will Rapid delivery survive the fight?


Paris wins battle to regulate dark stores after court decision, while Amsterdam decides to ban rapid grocery delivery services from residential areas completely!

France’s top administrative court ruled that dark stores are warehouses, paving the way for Paris and other cities to boot them from residential areas. Fueled by plentiful venture capital and pandemic demand, startups like GetirFlink, Frichti and Gorillas opened around 60 dark stores in central Paris.

The companies leased spaces reserved for businesses that, under the city’s urban planning laws, require the presence of actual shoppers.

The arrival of dark stores also irritated many residents, who complained about the noise of supply trucks and the sight of delivery e-bikes clogging up their streets. Local officials voiced concern that the dark stores were putting pressure on local shops.

The decision overturns a lower court’s ruling last fall that dark stores are “urban logistics spaces,” which had blocked Paris authorities from issuing fines to dark stores.

“Victory!” Emmanuel Grégoire, the deputy mayor for urban planning, wrote on Twitter. “These illegal warehouses will be sanctioned.”

On Bloomberg‘s request, Getir declined to comment. Flink did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Amsterdam is moving closer to becoming the first city in the Netherlands to ban rapid grocery delivery services from operating out of residential areas.

City administrators aim to establish an amended zoning plan that regulates the establishment of the distribution centers used by these services. If approved by the full city council, rapid delivery businesses will only be allowed to operate from business parks. It would require a dozen dark stores to close their doors.

For almost one and a half years, the municipality of Amsterdam has been working on addressing the issue of dark store establishments in the city. In January 2022, the city decided not to allow any new rapid delivery services or dark stores to open in Amsterdam for a year, to give the local government time to figure out how to deal with them. In the meantime, the city ordered several dark stores in residential areas to close because they did not fit into the zoning plan. The courts have confirmed several of those decisions.

In the press release, the municipality expressed hope that the new zoning plan will make it clear to everyone that rapid grocery delivery services can only be sustainable when located in industrial areas. The measure will also put an end to the legal disputes concerning the establishment of dark stores, the municipality added.

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