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Coronavirus – Retail & FMCG Updates From France

As part of our efforts to keep you, the ESM reader, notified on the latest coronavirus-related developments in the retail and consumer goods sectors, here are the latest news updates from France. Click the link in each snippet to view the full story. To return to the map, click here.

The French economy contracted by a post-war record of 13.8% in the second quarter, crushed by a coronavirus lockdown, although the drop was shallower than expected and a bounceback in consumer spending offered hope of recovery.

A pick up in food purchases triggered by coronavirus lockdowns extended a revenue bounce at French supermarket group Casino in the second quarter, and the group said online sales were still booming even as restrictions ease.

Danone has reported weaker first-half results, as costs linked to the COVID-19 pandemic squeezed its profit margins and a decline in out-of-home consumption cut the sales of its bottled water division by 28% in the second quarter.

French spirits maker Pernod Ricard has said that the coronavirus pandemic is not expected to hit its full year profit as strongly as initially feared.

French consumer confidence rebounded more than expected in June although households' fears about unemployment and the economic outlook remained high, a monthly survey showed.

Pernod Ricard has said that it is backing the reopening of bars and restaurants in France, by announcing its support for the ‘1000 Cafés’ initiative, which aims to bring back convivialité to the French HoReCa sector.

French shoppers are embracing convenience shopping as well as e-commerce during the coronavirus crisis, new data from Kantar has showed.

The French retail sector has responded to claims by medical professionals that they are 'profiteering' through the sale of protective masks, while those in the medical profession are short of equipment.

Carrefour saw its revenue growth accelerated in the first quarter, reflecting strong food sales in March in all its markets and notably in the core French market as people stayed at home due to coronavirus lockdowns.

French consumer confidence suffered its biggest ever monthly drop in April, when the country was locked down to contain the coronavirus epidemic, the INSEE statistics agency said.

The chairman and chief executive of Groupe Casino, Jean-Charles Naouri, has taken a 25% reduction in remuneration for the months of April and May 2020, the retailer has announced.

A French court has rejected a request from the CGT union that a Carrefour hypermarket near Lille be forced to close aisles selling non-essential products and it ordered the union to pay €1,000 compensation to the supermarket group.

Spirits maker Pernod Ricard has announced plans to suspend a share buyback of up to €500 million ($541 million) and keep a tight grip on costs in response to the coronavirus epidemic that cut third-quarter sales by 14.5%.

Danone has withdrawn its financial guidance for 2020 due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but posted higher first-quarter sales as shoppers bought more dairy, plant-based and nutrition products to eat at home.

Health-related measures, such as social distancing and the use of protective equipment, are likely to remain in place beyond the current coronavirus crisis, according to Michel-Édouard Leclerc, the chief executive of French retailer E. Leclerc.

While the COVID-19 outbreak saw an initial surge in purchasing across several key grocery categories, consumer purchasing is starting to stabilise in line with prior-year trends, according to a new study by IRI.

Amazon has been ordered to limit French deliveries to essential goods only within 24 hours to allow for a deeper assessment of coronavirus risks at its sites in the country, trade union Sud has said.

Drinks group Rémy Cointreau is expecting total operating profit to fall between 25% and 30% in its 2019/2020 fiscal year, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Supermarket retailer Carrefour and Uber Eats announced a new delivery service, aimed at helping Parisians buy essential goods and food during the nationwide lockdown triggered by the coronavirus crisis.

Spirits group Pernod Ricard has warned of a hit of around 20% to its current operating profit as a result of the slump in business caused by the global coronavirus crisis.

Amazon workers in France are coming under unacceptable pressure, finance minister Bruno Le Maire has said, after staff complained they faced not getting paid if they stopped showing up due to fears of coronavirus contamination.

L’Oréal has announced a series of measures to support those who are at the front-line in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak in the continent.

Several hundred Amazon workers in France protested at one of its sites, calling on the online retailer to cease operations or make it easier for employees loath to work during the coronavirus outbreak to stay away.

Carrefour began putting up protective barriers for cashiers in its French supermarkets, as it beefs up sanitary measures and looks to keep business flowing as France shuts down other sectors to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

Moët & Chandon owner LVMH said that its cosmetics unit would manufacture large quantities of hand disinfectant gel to help stave off a nationwide shortage across France as the coronavirus rapidly spreads.

Retail giant Auchan said its performance this year will be dependent on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak after 2019 results showed the first benefits of the retailer's revival plan.

French consumer spending fell unexpectedly sharply in January, official data has showed, flagging a weak start to the year even before the coronavirus outbreak began taking its toll.

Food group Danone has lowered its 2020 forecast for sales and profit margin, citing a particularly uncertain economic climate and the impact of the coronavirus.

Rémy Cointreau, Pernod Ricard and Diageo are among the companies that could see a profit hit in the coming months from the Coronavirus outbreak, which is crimping retail and duty-free sales, and creating supply disruptions across China, Moody's has said.

© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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