French retail chain Leclerc is laying claim to the position of leading distributor of fair trade products in France with a market share approaching 25%.

Leclerc’s outlets offer on average a range of between 20 to 50 different fair trade goods, principally coffee, tea, chocolate bars, fruit juices, sugar and rice. In 2005, the group posted a turnover in this segment of EUR14.4m (US$18.16m), an increase of 47% on 2004. It is now targeting a turnover in 2006 from fair trade goods of EUR19m.

However, in contrast to other retailers, Leclerc’s co-president, Michel-Édouard Leclerc, said the chain has no plans to launch its own fair trade label preferring to support existing brands in their development rather than short-circuit them.