It is a strong signal addressed to the large distribution. Bercy wants to see the retail giant E. Leclerc sanctioned for "more than 100 million euros" for relocating its trade negotiations via a central purchasing in Belgium, said Monday
Secretary of State for the Economy Agnès Pannier-Runacher.
"As part of the assignment last year of the Leclerc Group central purchasing, we ask the commercial judge to impose a total penalty of more than 100 million euros," she told the occasion of the publication of the annual report of the General Directorate for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF).
"Signs must be punished for the economic damage they cause"
"In the event of practices prohibited by the code of commerce, the signs must be sanctioned to the height of the economic damages which they generate," she continued during a press conference.
The Leclerc Group has set up a central purchasing office in Belgium with the German retail group Rewe, named Eurelec. Suspecting the distributor of wanting to circumvent French law by relocating its commercial negotiations via this structure, the DGCCRF conducted in February 2018 searches at the headquarters of E.Leclerc centers in Ivry-sur-Seine (Val-de-Marne).
295 checks carried out by the agents of the DGCCRF in mid-March
Judging "indispensable" the action of the DGCCRF in terms of control of the balance of trade negotiations, Agnès Pannier-Runacher drew up a "review of the controls conducted by the DGCCRF during the 2019 trade negotiations, the first since the promulgation of the Egalim law ", issued from the General States of Food.
"In mid-March, 295 controls were carried out by agents of the DGCCRF: it was to question the suppliers on the course of negotiations and secondly, to control certain brands: Intermarché, Système U, Carrefour … ", she explained. "The general climate seems more peaceful than in 2018, with distributors adopting a more constructive and less aggressive behavior, especially with SMEs," according to the secretary of state.