PARIS Nov 8 The head of French retailer Les
Centres E. Leclerc warned about the risks of inflation, even as
he pledged to stick to a low-price policy that helped the group
expand its market share by half a percent in September.
"The most worrying element is that price inflation threatens
consumer spending," said CEO Michel-Edouard Leclerc in an
interview with daily newspaper Le Monde published on Monday
Blaming higher commodity prices, he said some brands were
asking retailers for price hikes of between 5 percent and 19
percent, proposals he called "outrageous".
"We have told our buyers to obtain prices hikes for 2011 for
the Leclerc centres that will be below the level of inflation
nationally," he said.
French retailers and their suppliers are holding talks over
price policy for 2011 that are expected to be settled by
Leclerc heads Les Centres E. Leclerc, a cooperative
association of about 600 retailers, which competes against
Carrefour (CARR.PA) and Casino (CASP.PA).
Carrefour and Casino saw their French hypermarket sales
decline last year, but Leclerc's rose 5.6 percent, excluding
petrol, to 27.2 billion euros ($37.8 billion). It also increased
its market share in hypermarkets by 0.6 percentage points to 17
percent, making it the market leader.
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by David Holmes)