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French group Intermarché fined €375k for Nutella offer

Supermarket group Intermarché has been fined €375,000 for its 70% super-promotion of chocolate spread Nutella in January 2018, after the group was found to have broken discount rules.

The fine was imposed by French fraud agency La Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes (DGCCRG) after its investigation into the discount.

In January 2018, Intermarché - which is part of the Les Mousquetaires retail group - ran a 70% off discount sale on 750g pots of Nutella, leading to rioting scenes in some supermarkets as people fought to get their hands on the famous spread for bargain prices.

At the time, Nutella manufacturer Ferrero - fearing for its reputation - also accused Intermarché of selling the product at a loss. It said that it had only authorised a maximum price cut of 25% on the 950g pots, and not the 70% used in practice.

Overall, the DGCCRG concluded that Intermarché had indeed contravened rules on discounts, which limit the amount that supermarkets can drop prices to avoid situations in which manufacturers, farmers and producers actually lose money on their goods.

As well as Nutella, Intermarché was also found guilty of having unlawful discounts on Pampers nappies, Carte Noire coffee, and Perrier sparkling water.

The Loi Alimentation laws state that promotions for food and drink items must be limited to 34% on value and 25% on volume, with a seuil de vente à perte (threshold of sale at a loss) of at least 10%.

Ultimately, supermarkets are now not allowed to discount products below the point at which producers would no longer be paid.

Similarly, “buy one, get one free” deals have also been banned.

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