This is the struggle between supermarket chains in France to win customers despite inflation

The posters of the big stores promote from an “anti-inflation shield” as in the Leclerc supermarket, “The helping hand that is worth it” in Lidl or give rise to the “Locked Prices” of the Carrefour chain.

In addition to living with the policy of “energy sobriety” demanded by the president Emmanuel Macronthe French – like many European neighbors – already juggle jumping an inflation that weakens their pockets. In the supermarkets of the hexagon, special offers, promotions and discounts are common strategies to reduce consumer bills at checkout lines.

While the consumer price index (CPI) of France stood last month August at 5.9%which represents a fall of two tenths with respect to the interannual rate registered in the month of July, to reduce the impact on purchasing power, the posters of large stores promote from a “Inflation Shield” like in the supermarket Leclerc, “The helping hand that is worth it” in Lidl or give rise to “Adjusted Prices” of the chain Carrefour.

Everyone tries to hide the surveys of the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies of the country (INSEE, for its acronym in French), which They have been warning that the rise in costs is here to stay for several months. For this reason, the large commercial distribution chains of basic necessities do everything possible so that inflation does not affect their sales too much.

Although the first strategies began in June in the French Carrefour, a few weeks ago the brand pushed its “Adjusted Prices”namely, 220 products from big brands whose prices “will be maintained”, promised Stefen Bompais, director of customer experience. When pasta, flour and even minced meat increased by more than 10% in twelve months, now the French brand, although it does not promise price freezes, has guaranteed that “It will narrow the margins to pass on increases as much as possible.”

They arrive "adjusted prices" to France.  The Carrefour brand promises prices with reduced margins for some 200 basic necessities.
“Adjusted prices” arrive in France. The Carrefour brand promises prices with reduced margins for some 200 basic necessities.

Among these protected products: toilet paper, coffee, washing powder and top brand orange juice. “These are a lot of basic necessities, everyday items, continues Bompais. The proposal is complementary to other initiatives that seek to retain sales. In particular, this offer includes 90 reference brands on the market that “allows the customer to better control what he wants to buy”, or even these 400 ecological products for less than 2 euros.

The motto chosen by Carrefour is that “When everything goes up, in order not to tighten the belt any more, we tighten the margins”. To display this “Tight Price” operation, the protected products will be recognizable through the label holders or special price tag.

In May, Leclerc launched its “anti-inflationary shield” that locks in the price of 120 everyday products, selected from among the most purchased from October 2021 to March 2022. Lidl did the same with “The helping hand that is worth it” that allows its customers benefit from a coupon, once a month, for a 5% discount on their shopping cart.

also the brands casinowith the “Casino Max” subscription, or monoprix with “Mono Pro” facilitate a benefit of a 10% reduction in your shopping cart, the first store looking to captivate students and senior citizens with its initiatives. Some of these supermarkets include benefits for motorists with discount fuel prices to bring them closer especially on weekends.

Clearly identified to distinguish them from other products.  Carrefour also has its "Unbeatable prices"
Clearly identified to distinguish them from other products. Carrefour also has its “Unbeatable Prices”

In conclusion, everyone expects complex months ahead, justifying everything to seduce. For many, the current situation is equivalent to the 2008 crisis both in terms of falling purchases and economic tensions that reduce consumer confidence.

At the moment it is only a war between companies. Although the responsibility is mostly borne by the government, which has taken measures to crush prices in other sectors such as energy, none of these “price control” measures arise from a government initiative. In all cases, even the most socialist European governments know that meddling in pricing can bring short-term benefits, but also generate tension in a dynamic sector that understands that free competition is the best “regulation”.

The aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine derive, among other things, in this bid that ends up driving the rise of all the costs of the economy. That is why the discounts or offers also reach products for the bazaar, small appliances, kitchen utensils, but also the bookstore, taking into account the recent return to school.

We will have to look at how the basket ticket follows. For the moment, food accelerated its rate of increase, up to 7.9%, compared to 6.8% in July, while manufactured products increased their price by 3.5% compared to August 2021, after having grown 2.7% in July. That is why economists warn: France’s core inflation was 4.7% in Augustwhich means that the rise will continue with the September data.


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