French supermarket giant E. Leclerc is to sell fuel at cost price at its petrol stations this weekend (Friday, March 3 to Sunday, March 5).
The stores’ president-director Michel-Edouard Leclerc said it would reduce the price of petrol per litre by around five to six cents.
The operation will apply across the group’s 696 stations nationwide “before the strikes and the risk of petrol refineries being blocked,” Mr Leclerc said in an interview with FranceInfo.
A general strike, which may include petrol refineries and fuel workers, is scheduled to begin on March 7, with some workers beginning action on March 6 and some continuing until March 8 and beyond.
Read more: French pension reform strikes: What disruption is expected next week?
Mr Leclerc said the move was intended to protect the purchasing power of people in France.
He also said that the company planned to do a cost-price campaign again but that he could not guarantee that prices would stay the same.
He said: “I don’t produce petrol so I can’t guarantee today that I will be able to buy it under good conditions within the next two weeks.”
Carburant ➡️ "Ce week-end, l'essence sera à prix coûtant dans les centres Leclerc", annonce Michel-Edouard Leclerc. "Je ne produis pas le pétrole. Si Total me garantit qu'il va me faire cette ristourne, je m'engage à la retourner intégralement au consommateur." pic.twitter.com/pVG3R3jysN— franceinfo (@franceinfo) March 3, 2023
The supermarket boss also said that the pledge from fuel supplier TotalEnergies to cap petrol prices at €1.99 per litre (below the symbolic €2 per litre threshold) was not good enough in light of the group’s €20.5billion profit in 2022.
Read more: TotalEnergies to cap fuel prices rather than offer discounts in France
He said: “There are companies that are raising prices, saying that it’s necessary because of Ukraine, or it’s necessary because of energy and all the rest of it, but they still managed to put money aside [in profit].
He also pledged to pass on any future savings on fuel to customers.
“If Total can guarantee to me, as one of its best clients, that it will give me this rebate, I pledge to pass it on in its entirety to my customers,” he said.
It comes as fuel prices, grocery costs, and energy prices continue to soar amid rising inflation and warnings about higher supermarket prices from March to July, after difficult negotiations between supermarkets and suppliers.
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