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France leans on retailers to help soaring food prices

France is leaning on supermarket chains to help shoppers with the soaring price of food.

On Monday (February 13), finance minister Bruno Le Maire said everyone had to take their share of the pain, including retailers.


From next month, Paris wants stores such as Carrefour, Casino and Auchan to sell a basket of about 50 everyday items at cost price.


However, the initiative is not mandatory and so far only smaller chains have signed up.


That includes discounter Lidl.


Carrefour says it’s taken its own action to limit prices.


Auchan says it too has its own initiative, and criticises the government basket of goods for including too little fresh produce.


Last week France’s official statistics agency forecast food inflation would hold at 13% through the first half, even as overall inflation eased off a little.


On Monday, the European Union sounded a little more optimistic.


Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni unveiled updated predictions showing inflation would be lower than previously forecast:


"Headline inflation has peaked and is set to decline further. Thanks to rapidly declining energy prices, this new forecast has lowered projections for inflation.”


The Commission thinks euro zone price rises will slow to 5.6% in 2023, down from peaks of over 10% late last year.


Growth too should come in better than expected, helped by cooling energy costs.

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