“My trolley is practically only promos, croissants, pain au chocolat, minced meat, ravioli”, lists Denise Nappi, 78, a long-time regular at this Intermarché.
Located on hills overlooking the autonomous port of Marseille, this store, which employs around forty people, is both a supermarket and a “corner grocery store” for some of the 10,000 residents.
“I do my shopping with the booklet, I put myself in a corner where I don’t disturb and I go through the store following from the first to the last page”, explains Denise Nappi.
“Our customers are obsessed with promotion catalogs,” notes the director of the establishment, Stéphane Lennon, who has gradually increased the number in recent years, to almost two per week.
“We are no longer fighting over prices, it’s over. Now we are fighting over promotions”, explains this manager of the supermarket whose clientele ranges from inhabitants of impoverished housing estates in the 15th arrondissement of Marseille to the more socially mixed population of Septemes-les-Vallons.
“There are promotions to try to calm things down, but sometimes customers block on those of the past or future weeks” and get upset at the checkout realizing that they are over or have not started yet, says Thomas Lucas, 19-year-old cashier.
If sometimes, “the customers are a little mean”, he confesses, the young man shows himself to listen: “For my 19 years, I know a lot of money problems so I completely understand them”.
– Negotiate prices –
“Perhaps not to pay for gasoline”, the number of orders to be delivered increases, observes for his part Souad Helimi, in charge of deliveries to the store. “The amounts spent have not changed, on the other hand for fifty euros, we prepare two bags where there were four or five” before.
The rise in consumer prices in France accelerated to 6.2% over one year in October, INSEE confirmed on Tuesday.
In general, “we collect people because we are less far” than the largest supermarkets in shopping centers, adds Stéphane Lennon, but “the baskets are reducing (in volume) and the prices are increasing”.
The tendency of all supermarkets is to “start on lower ranges”, according to the director.
To reduce its own costs, the store has cut back on the duration and intensity of its lighting outside opening hours and relies on “the engine of the frozen shelves, refurbished in June, to heat part of the store” , during the winter, explains Mr. Lennon.
Witness to the theft of a piece of meat by “an elderly gentleman”, who “we felt he was hungry”, Yvette Bourlois, a 76-year-old client, admits to having been “a little shocked” and embarrassed: “Afterwards, I I said to myself, it does not concern me”, she said, pleading however for the VAT on food products to be abolished: “it is an unfair tax”.
Among the products that have increased the most, “fish is becoming very expensive”, notes Catherine Menancy, accountant of the Intermarché, according to whom “people will be forced” to change their habits.
Emphasizing that Septèmes-les-Vallons is close to the northern districts of Marseille, marked by a high rate of poverty, Yann Waerenburgh, in charge of the store’s fishmonger, launches: “You cannot offer the same prices” as in the shops of the downtown.
Every evening, he negotiates the price of the products he buys for the most part at the neighboring port of Estaque, below the market he assures, “because I know”.
At 16.99 euros/kg for a fillet of whiting, “the price I should pay” to suppliers, he assures us, he believes he will preserve his customers a little: “Without that, people wouldn’t even stop pas” in front of the stall.