French Supermarket Giants Shift to Cost-Price Fuel Sales Amid Rising Living Costs

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In an unprecedented move to help alleviate the rising cost of living for French citizens, France’s most prominent supermarket chains – Carrefour and E.Leclerc, have announced they will sell fuel at cost price. This announcement came on the threshold of a high-level meeting scheduled between government officials and fuel retailers.

E.Leclerc—having previously adopted this approach intermittently over the course of the summer—has pledged to resume the seven-days-a-week policy starting on Friday. Carrefour subsequently followed suit, promising to maintain cost-price fuel until the year’s end.

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Carrefour took to the social media platform X—formerly Twitter—to declare, “We are announcing the largest cost-price fuel sales operation in our history.”

The President of E.Leclerc, Michel-Edouard Leclerc, referred to the move as an “act of solidarity with all customers frightened by the [price] increases and whose buying power is greatly hit.”

Adding its name to the roster of participating companies was Systeme U, France’s fourth largest supermarket chain. Although, unlike its counterparts, Systeme U declared it would begin selling fuel at cost price from October, but only over select weekends, citing the economical strain of sustaining this approach daily.

Dominique Schelcher, the CEO of Systeme U, disclosed that fuel margins average about two euros cents (£0.017) per litre.

Over the weekend, French President Emmanuel Macron disclosed he would petition the fuel industry to sell at cost price, promising 100 euro (£87) grants to the poorest workers dependent on driving to work. He further announced his plans to convene with industry representatives to discourage profiteering on fuel. Nevertheless, the government’s proposal to potentially amend the law permitting fuel to be sold at a loss faced staunch opposition from distributors.

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