Blog: E.Leclerc in push for French retail top spot

Michelle Russell | 20 May 2013

French retailer E.Leclerc has added fresh impetus to its previous declaration of overtaking rival Carrefour in its domestic market by bringing its target forward a year.

The chief executive of privately owned Leclerc reportedly said a focus on low prices will enable it to overtake Carrefour in France ahead of schedule, by 2014.

According to Reuters, Michel-Edouard Leclerc told a news conference it remains focused on staying ahead in the price war heating up among French retailers. "I thought that in 2015 our chart line and that of Carrefour would cross, I think we will reach that point one year earlier," he told attendees.

Leclerc's market share is currently at 18.8% as of 24 March, according to Kantar Worldpanel data. This is against Carrefour's 20.5%.

Losing the top spot in its home market would be a blow to Carrefour, which has been fighting hard to improve its domestic performance - a market which accounts for over 40% of its sales.

The weak European markets have certainly played their part in making life tough for food retailers in the region, as shoppers' disposable incomes are squeezed by rising prices, subdued wage growth and austerity measures.

But Carrefour saw an improved performance at its core French stores in the first quarter, thanks to its recent pricing initiative.

Leclerc, however, has continued to make lots of noise on price and making sure it offers the lowest price across a number of areas. It also managed to book a respectable performance in 2012, despite the price intensity of its domestic market. It claimed its share of the market grew faster than its rivals last year, with sales up 7%.

Leclerc's chief executive is one of the more vocal characters in the French retail sector but his latest comment are sure to throw down the guantlet to his equally as outspoken counterpart at Carrefour, Georges Plassat.


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