French retailers have agreed to lower prices on certain products in 2009, the junior minister for industry and consumer affairs Luc Chatel has said.

In a meeting with Chatel on Monday (16 March), major food retailers agreed to pass on full rate reductions obtained in trade negotiations with suppliers to customers. This will mean lowering the average prices of their own labels, Chatel said.

The law of modernisation of the economy (LME) now allows distributors to negotiate industrial tariffs, with the objective of limiting the rise in prices.

"Prices start to fall and in 2009 the decline is expected to reach 1% to 2% minimum," said Jean-René Buisson, president of the National Association of Food Industries (ANIA).

Carrefour, Casino and non-listed retailers Auchun, Cora, Intermarche, Leclerc, Lidl and Systeme U are understood to have made the agreement at the meeting with Chatel and retailer unions.