The CEO of the supermarket chain Les Mousquetaires indicated on Wednesday that retail prices in France are unlikely to experience a significant decline until March. This statement aligns with a cautionary message from a competing group, which pointed out that French consumers are reducing their spending due to the elevated cost of living.
Thierry Cotillard, leading a group with over 3,000 stores in France, is one of the retail executives scheduled to meet with Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Wednesday. The agenda of the meeting revolves around deliberations on strategies to reduce prices.
Prior to the scheduled meeting, Cotillard conveyed to RTL radio that French shoppers had curtailed their supermarket purchases by approximately 5% in terms of quantities. They were also showing reduced interest in purchasing fresh items such as fish and meat. Cotillard further remarked that he foresees no positive changes in the overall pricing scenario until March.
“We are seeing more falls in the prices of raw materials than rises, we had oil and wheat and now paper. Retailers are passing on those falls to consumers with their own private label brands, but the law does not force national brands to renegotiate their prices. Some are playing ball but others don’t.”
The CEO of the French retail giant Carrefour issued a cautionary statement on Tuesday, highlighting that elevated prices have compelled consumers to make substantial reductions in their expenditures on essential commodities. The CEO also advocated for a postponement of a proposed law that seeks to limit the extent of promotional offers retailers can provide.
While Europe’s inflationary impact is subsiding, France is experiencing a milder decline in prices compared to numerous other countries. This divergence can be attributed to a notable rise in food-related inflation since March, following the annual price negotiations between retailers and producers.
The government is keen to steer food inflation, which surpassed the overall French inflation rate of 5.1% in July, toward a downward trajectory. There’s a sense of caution, as these elevated levels could potentially weaken the delicate state of consumer confidence.