Rising rents, transport and utilities costs, coupled with food price inflation, are starting to erode the purchasing power of French consumers, Michel-Édouard Leclerc, the chief executive of supermarket group E. Leclerc, has warned.
In a post on his blog, the CEO referenced a recent report by France Stratégie, which measured the drop-off in the purchasing power perceived by French consumers, and the actual purchasing power, as measured by INSEE.
Increased Spending By Households
As Leclerc wrote, so-called constrained spending (on housing or fuel, for example), has "increased considerably" over the past 20 years, with wages also increasing, albeit not to the same level.
"So even though the incomes of certain demographics have increased, their ability to spend (to have fun, eat better, take vacations, etc.) has decreased," Leclerc said.
This development is even more significant for those that have "poor or modest incomes", Leclerc said.
While he welcomed the efforts that have been made to keep products and services affordable through the COVID crisis, he urged consumers to remain "attentive to price levels", particularly as the French presidential election approaches.
The first round of voting in the 2022 election is set to take place on 10 April next year, with Emmanuel Macron seeking to retain his mandate.
"There is no doubt that this will be a major subject for candidates at the next presidential election," Leclerc wrote. "And, believe me, defending your purchasing power is the central objective of my colleagues at E.Leclerc stores."
E. Leclerc is currently the market leader in France, holding 22.7% of grocery market share, according to the latest data from Kantar.