Several French retail groups including Auchan, Carrefour, Groupe Casino, Cora, E.Leclerc, Intermarché, Lidl, Système U and Netto have warned of the consequences of a new trade negotiation bill proposed by the government.
The groups believe that the proposed law would 'prevent negotiation trade for the benefit of very large manufacturers, and which will dramatically and sustainably fuel inflation', according to a joint press release.
On 16 January (today), France's National Assembly is to vote on the bill, which officially is about 'securing the supply of French consumer products'.
The group noted that the proposal, supported by the largest representatives of agro-industry interests (Ilec), would allow large suppliers to unilaterally impose their prices on distributors, nullifying the very notion of 'trade negotiations'.
Big suppliers are important for distributors to retain customers as they offer essential brands, and retailers will be forced to accept the prices imposed by multinationals, including increases of over 30%.
The proposal will also impact French SMEs as they will be less able to withstand the foreseeable decline in volumes sold. The sector foresees a risk of a '40% to 50% price increase'.
Retail chains are open to the necessary increases as long as they are discussed and justified, according to retail groups.
Many retail chains have recently committed, under the minister in charge of SMEs and trade, to take charge of the transparent increases in energy costs of the most modest suppliers.