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FOOD & DRINK

France’s ‘cheapest’ supermarket to expand into convenience stores

One of France's biggest supermarket chains - and the French group judged the most affordable - has announced it will expand into convenience stores, bringing the lower prices of hypermarchés to city-dwellers.

France's 'cheapest' supermarket to expand into convenience stores
The entrance of a French retail surpermarket E. Leclerc, in Saint-Herblain, outside the city of Nantes. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)

E. Leclerc – judged by France’s lead price comparison site as the cheapest French group – announced on Monday that it had opened its first “low-cost” convenience store.

The shop is located in the south of France, in Draguignan which is in the Var département and bosses say they will charge the same prices at convenience shops as it does in its larger supermarkets.

Prices in city-centre convenience stories or ‘mini’ supermarkets are often significantly higher than those at out-of-town hypermarchés, even in stores run by the same group. 

spoke with Loïc Faraco, the head of Leclerc branches in neighbouring towns, told local paper Var Matin: “We wanted to offer a new concept to our customers and, above all, to work in closer proximity to the city centre while keeping the prices of large supermarkets.” 

The manager said that the “idea is to offer the maximum amount of products at large supermarket prices” which has not been done before.”

Faraco explained that small convenience shops “charge up to 30 percent more than large stores,” adding that close proximity should not push people to have to pay more. 

In comparison to other stores, E.Leclerc is known for having much lower prices. According to UFC-Que Choisir, a French consumer association who ranks store affordability, E. Leclerc grocery stores topped the list for having the most affordable bundles (although their comparison does not include the German chains Aldi and Lildl, which are present in many French towns).

For 2022, the results showed that the E.Leclerc was least expensive, with an average shopping cart costing €348. In comparison, the most expensive was the Casino group with averages of €408. 

Mini-markets have become more common across France in recent years, and according to TF1, supérettes (convenience stores) have seen their sales climb by more than 8 percent since 2019. 

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PROPERTY

France brings in new tax declaration for property-owners

If you own property in France - either a main residence or a second home - you will now have to complete an extra tax declaration after changes to the tax system. Here's how it works.

France brings in new tax declaration for property-owners

People living in France already have to complete a yearly tax declaration, but if you own property here, you will also have to complete an extra declaration this year after changes to the tax system.

Who?

This applies to anyone who owns property in France – whether it is their main residence or a second home – including those who live in another country. If you do not own property and only rent your home, then this does not concern you.

What?

This isn’t an extra tax, it’s simply an extra piece of paperwork that has to be filled in, known as a Déclaration d’occupation, and this declaration is concerned with whether the property is your main residence or a second home.

Why?

This is because of recent changes to the property tax system. There are two types of property tax in France; taxe foncière which is paid by the property owner and taxe d’habitation which is paid by the property occupier. If you own your home home, traditionally you paid both.

However, taxe d’habitation is in the process of being scrapped for most people, and now only high-earners and second-home owners pay it. The problem is that the tax office don’t have a record of whether a property is used as a main home or a second home and therefore don’t know who to send bills to – hence the new declaration.

How?

If you live in France and already make your annual tax declaration online then this process should be fairly easy – head to impots.gouv.fr, log in and then click on Biens immobiliers (real estate) in the menu bar along the top of the website.

The site will then list the property or properties in your name, and you can fill out the déclaration d’occupation for each, stating whether it is your main residence or a second home.

If you’re not already registered on the impots.gouv site then you have two choices – register and set yourself up an account which will allow you to make the declaration online, or make the declaration on paper.

In order to register on the site you will need your numéro fiscale (tax number) which you should be able to find on previous correspondence from the tax office such as your annual tax bills.

You can find a full explanation of how to set up the online account HERE.

If you would prefer to make the declaration on paper, then the easiest option is to head to your local tax office and ask for a Déclaration d’occupation – you can find the tax office that serves your area by googling ‘Centre des finances publique‘ plus the name of your commune.

You do not need an appointment, as tax offices deal with queries on a walk-in basis, but make sure you check the opening times in advance as some offices, especially in small towns, have unusual opening hours. 

When?

The deadline to have completed the declaration is June 30th, and people who have a property registered should receive notification from the tax office. 

You will then receive your property tax bill in the autumn as usual. 

This is a one-off declaration so you won’t have to do it every year – only when your situation changes, so for example if you sell the property, buy a new one or change from it being a second-home to your main residence. 

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