Coronavirus (COVID-19): France market update w/e 24 April

Maxime Delacour
Senior Retail Analyst

Date : 24 April 2020

We summarise the latest news from France as the country deals with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

All non-essential stores to reopen on 11 May

Bruno Le Maire, France’s economy minister, announced on 23 April the plan is for all non-essential stores to be able to reopen at the end of the lockdown measures, on 11 May. However, this date could change from one region to another, as some like Paris and the East are more affected by the pandemic. Stores will have to prepare for the new normal and adapt their operations to the new health and safety measures.

The minister added that restaurants, cafes, and bars will not reopen on that date, with no date communicated yet as to when they may be able to open. But it will be later, potentially in June.

Support for local producers continues

All major retailers continue to support local producers and farmers:

  • Priority is being given to fruits and vegetables produced in France. However, consumer prices are usually higher, due to production costs being above those for imported produce
  • Assortments are being flexed to add new products, such as premium cheeses and meat cuts
  • Leclerc will give all benefits from the sale of Lily of the valley to Coronavirus (COVID-19) medical research. In France, it is a tradition to offer the flower to celebrate May 1st

While difficult to evaluate, the trend of buying directly at the farm or from producers appears to have increased a lot. French people are supporting local businesses and farmers despite prices being sometimes higher than in supermarkets. Some of these new behaviours could remain after the lockdown.

Protecting shoppers’ purchasing power

In these uncertain times, most retailers have decided to freeze the prices on many grocery products:  

  • Leclerc: 4,000 private label products across all grocery categories, except fresh food. This will last until the end of the lockdown measures
  • Intermarché: 10,000 products (branded and private labels), except fresh food. Equivalent to two thirds of its food range. As with Leclerc this will last until the end of the lockdown measures
  • Système U: 5,000 private label products across all grocery categories, except fresh food. The initiative will last until schools return in September
  • Carrefour: 5,000 private label and 500 branded products across all grocery categories. This will last until the end of the lockdown measures
  • Lidl: the entire assortment, except fruits and vegetables, which will last until 15 May

New partnerships

The pandemic had a positive impact on the acceleration of some partnership between businesses:

  • Sports equipment and apparel specialist Decathlon has partnered with both Franprix (Casino Group) and Auchan, opening corners in several stores. More information available here
  • 200 independent stores in the city of Angers have teamed up to create an ecommerce solution in partnership with Wishibam, a start-up specialised in creating marketplaces for small businesses

Looking for more insight?

  • More details on retailers’ previous responses from France are available here
  • Get the latest insights on Coronavirus (COVID-19) to help your business understand what the food and grocery industry is doing around the world to address the evolving pandemic