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France: Lidl attacks E.Leclerc over its price comparison method

Discount Retail Chain Lidl attacked head-on in an advertisement on social networks the leader of food distribution in France E.Leclerc Friday, accusing it of "comparing the incomparable" to present itself as the best brand on the price.

Lidl, which has benefited much less than E.Leclerc from the concern of the French about the soaring price of their groceries, pointed to a comparison between its cereals and those of its competitor's entry-level range.

Less expensive, E. coli cereals. Leclerc contains, according to Lidl, "49% less wheat and 40% less cocoa" than its own cereals. And the discounter says it is "ready to do anything to offer you the best prices but not to make you swallow anything".

'Levels (of aggressiveness) never seen before'

For retail sector expert Olivier Dauvers, this is a "new episode in the advertising battle between Lidl and Leclerc", which "reaches levels (of aggressiveness) never seen before".

It takes place in a context of strong competition between distributors, exacerbated by inflation, which has increased consumers' interest in low prices, real or perceived as such. The independent group E.Leclerc, leader in the sector with nearly a quarter of the market, benefited from an impressive gain in market share in 2023.

Among the arguments deployed to try to convince new customers, distributors use comparative advertising with variable methodologies (local or national comparison, on all or part of the assortment, etc.) allowing them to show that they are cheaper than the competition.

On BFMTV/RMC on Thursday, the president of Lidl France Michel Biero had said that E. Leclerc, who "launched these comparators, has taken a step" that he had "never taken before", by comparing "private label products with first prices, even though they are not comparable products" from a quality point of view, according to him.


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