France bans 'super promotion' offers in supermarkets

The Local France
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France bans 'super promotion' offers in supermarkets
Special offers in French supermarkets are controlled by several laws. Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP

A new law that came into effect on Friday bans French supermarkets from offering 'super promotions' such as three-for-the-price-of-one offers - part of a raft of measures aimed at curbing the powers of supermarkets and protecting producers and independent retailers.


The new law, known as the Loi Descrozaille after the MP who proposed it, was passed in 2023 but came into effect on Friday, March 1st - and it will likely affect the special offers available at your local supermarket.

It bans supermarkets from offering discounts of more than 34 percent on non-food products such as toiletries, cleaning products or nappies. It is most likely to affect multi-buy offers such as 'three for the price of one'. 

It comes after similar laws about pricing for food products - aimed at protecting French farming - were introduced over the previous five years.


The Loi Descrozaille is intended to protect smaller, independent retailers who cannot afford to offer 'loss leader' promotions in the same way that the big supermarkets can, although there have been protests that it unfairly penalises shoppers who are on a low income. 

It is the latest part of a raft of French laws aimed at protecting suppliers and independent retailers and curbing the power of supermarket chains and multinationals.

Loi Egalim 

The several parts of the Loi Egalim are intended to protect farmers by forcing supermarkets to offer a fair price for produce such as fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy products. The law allows collectives which represent farmers to set a basic price for supermarkets, based on the costs involved in producing the item.

Loi Egalim: The French food-pricing law that curbs the power of supermarkets

Book pricing 

One thing that foreigners in France often notice is that books are comparatively expensive. This is due to rules on minimum pricing for books which are intended to protect independent book stores from competition by supermarkets and online platforms such as Amazon.

Books are a set minimum price and sellers are also banned from doing 'two for the price of one' type offers.

Sales periods 

France has two sales periods per year - one shortly after Christmas and one in the summer - with dates set by the government. Outside of these sales periods, all types of shops are strictly limited in the types of discounts they can offer.

Although it's possible to reduce prices, these reductions cannot be more than the retailer paid for the item - with the exception of closing-down sales and 'refurbishment' sales, when a shop is closing for a short period for a refurbishment or renovation. 

Delivery costs

In an attempt to protect bricks-and-mortar stores from online shopping sites, France has also introduced rules on delivery charges, instituting a minimum charge.


This was introduced following concerns that retailers like Amazon were offering either free delivery or €0.01 delivery, an offer that independent sellers could not afford to match. Since 2023, all online retailers are obliged to charge at least €3 for delivery on orders of €35 or less, although they can still offer €0.01 delivery on larger orders.

Nutella riots 

Readers may remember the 2018 'Nutella riots', when supermarket chain Intermarché offering a massive 70 percent discount on pots of the sticky chocolate spread, which many French people are bizarrely obsessed by.

The result was brawls in the aisles as shoppers scrambled to get their hands on the discount spread, but Intermarché was later fined for the unauthorised 70 percent off offer. 


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