Sacred acceleration. While deconfinement will take place, at least in some departments, from May 11, the large distribution is organized so that the French can have masks. From May 4, Intermarché but also other brands will begin to market masks for the general public (in fabric and reusable), and “all (Auchan, Aldi, Carrefour, Colruyt, Cora, Groupe Casino, Intermarché, Leclerc, Lidl, Netto, Match, Système U ) will do so from May 11, ”announced Secretary of State for the Economy Agnès Pannier-Runacher.
These masks will cost “between 2 and 3 euros for those who are washable and reusable, or between 10 and 30 cents per use,” she said. Single-use paper masks will be sold at cost, less than one euro. Each brand, finally, must guarantee the “fair and serene distribution” of this protective equipment, and in particular determine the number of masks possible per purchase.
Back with Thierry Cotillard, the boss of Intermarché and Netto, on the organization set up in his brands, so that customers are supplied as quickly as possible, in sufficient quantities, and at low cost.
Intermarché and Netto will distribute 100 million surgical masks as of May 4. How is it going to happen in practice?
THIERRY COTILLARD. We will already reserve 10 million of these masks for our SME partners, suppliers, farmers, etc. who we work with. 3 million will be distributed by our members at the local level, and 7 million at the national level through Ania (NDLR National Association of Food Industries) and FEEF (NDLR Federation of French Companies and Entrepreneurs), which represent companies. It is our way of helping to revive the economy.
And for individuals?
We will make 90 million surgical masks available to our customers at cost price from May 4, but a reservation system will be put in place as of Wednesday, April 29. We have chosen not to sell them on the shelves because this would be difficult to manage. As of today, our approximately 2 million customers with a card from our brands will receive an email asking them if they want to take advantage of this offer. If so, they will receive a single-use reservation voucher, and can come and collect their box of 50 masks during slots defined in advance. For the others, a reservation system will be set up: from Monday 4 May, they will be able to reserve masks on the Intermarché and Netto websites.
At what price will these masks be sold?
We will not make margins on it, they will be sold at cost price, less than 30 euros per box of 50 masks (29.54 €), or 59 cents per unit. I remind you that they have a lifespan of four hours.
How long do you expect to distribute them?
We believe that these 100 million masks will leave between May 4 and May 15, and then we will offer fabric masks at very attractive prices. After May 15, we will have both types of masks on sale, we will make a range that will eventually become a shelf. But the whole month of May will certainly be complicated and tense, we will probably have to continue with this rationing system before we can put them on the shelves in June.
The Prime Minister indicated that businesses will be able to require their customers to wear a mask. Are you going to impose this measure?
Today, there is a real subject on masks. However, we want to give priority to people who are in need to return to work. We therefore preferred to choose the free hydroalcoholic gel. From Monday, there will be a gel fountain at the entrance of the stores so that customers can disinfect their hands. They will have no obligation to wear a mask.
What’s going to change for you after May 11?
Since the start of containment, the mass market has grown by 10%, mainly due to the transfer of meals not taken in collective catering to other traditional circuits. We can consider that deconfinement should therefore allow us to find a more normal rhythm of activity. But we know that consumption will continue to be sustained in our distribution networks until our restaurants have reopened. There will still be many meals taken at home, especially in the evening. So it will always take an organization that requires hours, arms and resources to deal with these needs.
Will security measures be maintained?
Of course ! This is also the message I send to all members. Even if the deconfinement arrives, let us remain in this precaution of barrier gestures: flow control, mask of rigor, plexiglass, gel for everyone. The virus is still there. More than ever, we must remain vigilant.
Many consumers complain of price increases for certain products. Is that the case ?
On this subject, we have done two things. From the start, we took a position of support for French agricultural sectors which no longer had any outlets restaurants or canteens. So we limited the Spanish strawberry, the asparagus from foreign countries. And indeed, this resulted in real inflation, of the order of 20%, on all fruits and vegetables. We have taken and assume this political and responsible decision vis-à-vis the sector.
And the 2nd measurement?
In support of consumers and their purchasing power, we have at the same time decided to block prices until May 15 on all of our 15,000 products, to compensate for this increase in French fruits and vegetables. The housewife does not have to spend much more on shopping with us. And in the coming months, it will also be our priority: we will be more discount than ever.
Do you agree to keep the prices frozen after May 15?
We think about it. Better than freezing prices, perhaps we could even go further and consider lowering prices.
All of the large retailers have announced the payment of a bonus of € 1,000 to their employees. How is it expensive Intermarché and Netto?
We have taken the position of awarding a bonus to employees who work in the group, in our factories and logistics, and sent a message to our members to encourage them to do the same. But the decision is up to each entrepreneur in the network. There are members who have the means to do so, others who are more in difficulty. But the vast majority have implemented it and will pay a premium of up to 1,000 euros.