Le Maire Says French Retailers to Extend Price Cuts Three Months

(Bloomberg) -- French retailers will extend efforts to charge the lowest possible amount for some essential food items by three months as high consumer inflation continues to weigh on households, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

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The three-month campaign, which was announced in early March and dubbed the “anti-inflation quarter,” was due to come to an end next month. The minister had previously said it would be prolonged, without giving details.

“It lasts until June 15, obviously we’ll extend it by a further quarter, because summer is particularly difficult, and since prices won’t fall immediately, retailers must commit for this summer: they have,” he said on TV show Quelle Époque, on France 2 television, late on Saturday.

Food prices have taken over from energy as the main driver of inflation in the euro area’s second-largest economy. Le Maire has said industrial food producers have also agreed to reopen negotiations with supermarkets this month in an effort to bring down prices for consumers, following government pressure.

The campaign was predicted to inflict a margin hit for supermarket chains of several hundred million euros in the first three months.

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