French Retailers Divided Over Government Call To Sell Fuel At Cost

By Reuters
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French Retailers Divided Over Government Call To Sell Fuel At Cost

Two leading French retailers were at odds over the government's call for petrol and diesel to be sold at cost price at the fuel pump, ahead of a meeting between the government and distributors.

Supermarket chain E.Leclerc said it would sell fuel at cost price seven days a week from the end of the month, while the Système U group said it would only sell at cost price over some weekends.

To help people cope with inflation, the French government initially considered lifting a ban  on fuel being  sold at a loss, but revised its plan in the face of opposition from distributors.

Its revised call for fuel to be sold at cost is the subject of talks later on Tuesday (26 September).

French prime minister Elisabeth Borne said at the National Assembly earlier that the meeting would be about sending a "simple message" to lower prices and make margins transparent.


'It Cannot Be Permanent'

Selling fuel at cost price can only be temporary,  said  Dominique Schelcher, head  of Système U. Système U 's next at-cost fuel price promotion would be the first weekend of October, he said.

“It cannot be permanent,” he told BFM Television.

Michel-Edouard Leclerc, president of the eponymous supermarket chain, said in a tweet  that  fuel at all 750 of  its  stores would be sold at cost from 29 September through the week.


He said his group was making a "positive response to the president's call."

He added the price would have to take into account supply conditions and decisions by oil companies.

Elsewhere, French consumers are buying fewer personal hygiene and household products as the prices of products made by big brands like P&G and Unilever surge, data compiled for Reuters showed.

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