Dark stores are warehouses for the Conseil d'État

In this case, the Conseil d'Etat ruled in favor of the Paris City Council, considering dark stores to be a "warehouse" activity rather than a "trade and service activity". A victory for the municipality after a long legal battle.

Dark stores opened illegally

Elected representatives, who are trying to curb the massive arrival of quick commerce in the capital, were delighted with the decision handed down by the Conseil d'État on March 23, 2023.

In this case, in 2022, Paris City Hall took legal action against several companies, including Gorillas, Flink and Getir, which have established themselves as major players in home shopping delivery. These companies stored their everyday products in dark stores for rapid delivery to users of their applications. This activity was criticized by many elected officials and local residents, who complained of noise pollution caused by the scooters and delivery personnel.

As part of these legal actions, the Paris City Council accused these dark stores, installed in premises previously housing traditional shops, of failing to declare their activity as warehouses.

In October 2022, Frichti and Gorillas scored a first success against the city by obtaining a ruling from the administrative court suspending the infringement notices issued against them. The court had recognized the " collective interest " of the premises, deeming that they enable " delivery times and methods to be optimized in an urban environment " and thus " reduce truck traffic and the number of delivery points in Paris intramuros ".

Secondly, the appeal court ruled that they " should have filed a declaration with the town hall to use premises that were originally traditional shops as dark stores ".

Conseil d'État rules in favor of Paris City Council

Today, the Conseil d'Etat ruled that the Paris City Council can legally require quick commerce companies to return premises to their original traditional retail activities once there has been an unauthorized change of activity. It considers that dark stores constitute warehouses within the meaning of current regulations.

Emmanuel Grégoire welcomed the Conseil d'Etat's decision, but deplored the behavior of Frichti and Gorillas, who should have declared a change of use to the city and could have used the opportunity to adapt their model. He estimates that there are now fewer than a hundred dark stores left in the capital.

" Some of them are legal, installed in locations that don't pose any problems, while others were set up prior to the Local Urban Development Plan (PLU )," he explains. These players must now pay the fines issued by the town hall.

Following this decision, the government finally decided on March 24 to publish regulatory texts aimed at regulating the deployment of dark stores in major cities through local urban planning schemes (PLU).