Quebec's premier is criticizing the manager of an Adidas store who reportedly told a Montreal crowd that he would say a few words in French at an event to accommodate the city's French media.

Philippe Couillard said the manager's statements, if true, are unacceptable and regrettable in a French-speaking province.

Several Quebec personalities vowed to boycott the activewear company after Le Journal de Montreal reported the store manager's comments.

According to the newspaper, the manager told the crowd at a store launch event that he would begin his speech with a few words in French out of a duty to accommodate, before switching to English.

In Quebec City, Parti Quebecois Leader Jean-Francois Lisée blamed Couillard for the incident, accusing him of having promoted the use of English in workplace.

Couillard replied that while English speakers are an important part of Quebec society, the language of the workplace is French.