Leclerc raises the tone on the purchasing power

Michel-Edouard Leclerc counter-attack by returning to the leitmotif of the "movement" launched for sixty-eight years by his father Edward, cantor of low prices. In its latest campaign, signed by BETC (Havas), the first grocer in France (21.1% market share against 20.6% at Carrefour in October 2018 and 15% in Intermarché), sends a clear message, broadcast at average ... a simple and banal E.Leclerc receipt. But which "media" is more efficient for a distributor? Andy Wahrol could hardly have imagined better. Leclerc's strategy is summarized in a few lines: "Doing nothing for the purchasing power, it would not look like us. In 2019, E.Leclerc lowers the prices of 4,600 Brand Mark products, excluding agricultural products *. "

"It's not a one shot. Broadcast in the press, TV, billboard and radio, the campaign will spread throughout the year ", insists Philippe Séligmann, director of communication Centers Leclerc, fourth French advertiser in 2017 with 370.6 million euros, according to the ranking Kantar / "Strategies. "

Improve nutritional quality

In January 2017, however, the projects launched to improve the nutritional quality and environmental impact of Leclerc products with a red compass, as well as to increase organic, gluten-free and vegan references, had led to the belief that foot. Everything was accompanied by measures such as the reduction of 50% of pesticides, or the total elimination of artificial additives for children's food ... If Leclerc continued to want to remain "the least expensive brand", he was ambitious, the era of "food-bashing", to enhance the image of its label Marque Mark. Left to lift a little on promotions.

Best student in the class

But 2018 was also the year in which the distributor lost market share eight times in the first nine months of the year. Nothing to shake the granite house held by MEL ... but almost. It is true that 2017/2018 also coincided with the period when Intermarché, Carrefour, Auchan, Lidl - became the first French advertiser - woke up dramatically. Focusing their communication campaign on "Better Eating" as Intermarché or
the "Act for Food" of Carrefour. While multiplying the megapromos, like the same Intermarché, offering 70% discount on the Nutella and its Pampers.

In October 2018, Michel-Edouard Leclerc confided then to the "Echos": "We under-sized our promotional device at the time of the General States of Food [fin 2017, NDLR] because we wanted to appear as the best student in the class. " The mea culpa was not only facade. The ogre of the market had raised the head, registering, at the end of November 2018, a part of advertising voice of 34,5%, the strongest of all the distributors.

Historical fight of Leclerc

And now, with its new BETC campaign, MEL is once again inviting itself to the field of purchasing power. Which, since 1959 (date of the creation of the sign), is, obsessively, the DNA of the brand. Effect "yellow vests"? " No, replies Bertille Toledano, president of BETC / Paris, "It's been decades since the price of petrol, jewelry, parapharmacy, glasses, books ... Leclerc struggles to make more accessible products essential to the quality of life of the French. He continues the fight. "

Robin Hood of large retailers

You can see - too - a sign of the time. "From 2018, well before the movement of 'yellow vests', we anticipated the fact that the accumulation of the law on the General States of Food, the increase of the CSG on certain populations, the psychological effect of the levy at the source and the tax on diesel would necessarily create an upward pressure on prices and therefore a very strong pressure on the purchasing power of the French ", stresses Philippe Séligmann.

Just like the new war cry of the signs - "The French are ready to pay more to eat better" - is only worth it if this same "Purchasing power can follow", according to Philippe Séligmann. In short, all the elements are gathered so that Michel-Edouard Leclerc can endorse, once again, the Robin Hood dress of the large retailers that had cut in broad strokes his father Edouard Leclerc.

Véronique Richebois