The boss of the leading French distributor Michel-Edouard Leclerc is counting on “structural” inflation in the coming years, even if the rise in prices will be “less violent” than in the last two years, he said on Saturday in an interview with West France . “Inflation will be less violent,” replies the president of the strategic committee of the centers E. Leclerc when asked if the price increases observed since 2022 are “behind us”. According to the latest figures from INSEE, which must be confirmed on Friday, inflation reached 2.9% over one year in France in February, falling below 3% for the first time in two years.

“Barring exceptional events, prices in hypermarkets should be in an increase range of between 2 and 3%” in 2024, affirms Michel-Edouard Leclerc, confirming his previous estimates. “We can count on substantial reductions in imported non-food items. Asia is looking for growth beyond its borders. She needs to sell and to do so is ready to lower her prices,” explains Michel-Edouard Leclerc. As for food items, “coffee and chocolate products will decline. This will also be the case for cereal-based products. For the sugar, you will have to wait a little longer,” he explains.

Inflation “will not disappear, however, (…) we are entering a cycle of ten-year inflation”, however, nuance Michel-Edouard Leclerc. “We are going to have to (…) finance the energy transition. Producing in a more virtuous way will cost more,” he continues. “We will have to amortize heavier, more decarbonized investments in smaller markets,” which leads Michel-Edouard Leclerc to say that “structural inflation will set in.” At the end of November, the Minister of the Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire assured that inflation was “defeated”.

“He anticipates,” replied Michel-Edouard Leclerc a few days later. While the distributor’s use of purchasing centers abroad is criticized, his boss said on Saturday that he was “favorable to the French preference without being in favor of closing borders”, before listing the products of French origin sold in its stores.