Leclerc has launched a 'made in France' section in its supermarket in Lanester, Brittany.
Pilot project which could be rolled out
The section comprises 80 food products, across four metres of shelving. They are highlighted by a large French flag above the fixture and the wording 'produits fabriqués en France' (products made in France). The items featured are already sold in-store; Leclerc is simply bringing them together in one single location to make a bigger impact.
Lanester store is good fit for trial
Store owner Pierre Olivier has a long-term relationship with Leclerc and is a well-known figure in the organisation. His store, part of the Scarmor co-operative, has a very competitive price positioning relative to other stores in its catchment area. Historically, regional products from Brittany - Produits Bretagne - have been a strong category in-store.
The indications are that a rollout could be well received by Leclerc customers. Other stores promote products under the long-running initiative 'Les alliances locales' (local alliances), and highlight their partnerships with local and regional producers and suppliers.
We have visited the Lanester store; click here for the store visit report.
Made in France or regional?
The pilot stage will take a year to test and optimise; it could be extended to additional Leclerc stores. The retailer's president, Michel-Edouard Leclerc, said there was a wider debate - some stores, for example in Paris, Lyon or Nice, may wish to promote products as French, while others, for instance in the south-west or Alsace, prefer to focus on regional qualities.
Regional products becoming a battleground
Leclerc's marketing strategy has historically focused on two areas: loyalty, and communicating its low price position. These will remain important in France, given the difficult trading environment. However, this move will help Leclerc tap into the increasingly important themes of local and regional. Other retailers have already begun to recognise this, for instance we have seen Casino highlighting local ranges in its newest convenience concept store in Lyon.
In addition, patriotism is a hot topic following an interview with France's industry minister, Arnaud Montebourg, which was published in Le Parisien last October. He called for the French to show their patriotism by buying products made domestically, and said he would write to retailers to encourage them to develop such initiatives.
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