No more “super promotions”? Because some big discounts will soon be banned in supermarkets

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A bill could regulate “super promotions” on hygiene products, extending the ban on exceeding a certain percentage of promotion.

It’s a new blow to the French wallet. On Wednesday March 15, deputies and senators agreed to limit super-promotions in supermarkets a little more, during a joint joint commission on the bill brought by the Renaissance deputy of Val-de-Marne Frédéric Descrozaille, voted unanimously by the Assembly national on January 18.

The text, which has yet to be definitively voted on March 21 and 22 in the Senate and then in the Assembly, provides for limiting discounts in supermarkets for hygiene or cleaning products to 34%. A measure that had already been applied to food products: the Egalim law of 2018 thus provides for “regulating in value and volume the promotional operations financed by the distributor or supplier relating to the sale of foodstuffs to the consumer”.

The bill would broaden the scope of these provisions. On foodstuffs, the new text also provides for the extension of the ceiling for a period of three years. As a reminder, among the provisions of the Egalim law, there is also an obligation for distributors to sell a product with a minimum margin of 10%, as well as a ban on using the term “free” as a marketing or promotional tool.

More equity, better pay

Among the reasons given for extending the ban on promotions beyond 34% is the desire to protect suppliers. In the report of their reflections, deputies and senators gathered in the joint commission justified their choice by estimating that “shock promotions [sur les produits non-alimentaires] were destructive of value for hundreds of French SMEs”. The measure would thus ensure better remuneration for operators in the sector.

To justify the introduction of the Egalim law in 2018, the will was put forward to stop too aggressive promotions, likely to cause riots in supermarkets. For example, a -70% promotion on Nutella jars led to overflows and jostling at Intermarché group stores in early 2018. The chain was then forced to discontinue these significant discounts.

At the origin of the bill, Frédéric Descrozaille indicates the need to protect producers by rebalancing commercial relations between distributors and producers. Congressman Renaissance even presents the reform as an advantage for consumers.

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The timing is surprising given that this bill comes against a backdrop of high inflation in France. The French portfolio is directly affected, while anti-inflation baskets are multiplying. On the retail side, we denounce an “unjust” measure. “We would like to deprive consumers of discounted prices. […] Where is the consistency?” Michel-Édouard Leclerc outraged on Twitter on March 13. As a reminder, inflation was 6.3% in February in France.

Under the pretext of avoiding the excesses of the “price war” (sic), we would like to deprive consumers of bargain prices while the binomial @BrunoLeMaire@OliviaGregoire attracts distributors for their “anti-inflation quarter” label. Where is the consistency?

— Michel-Édouard Leclerc (@Leclerc_MEL) March 13, 2023

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