Coronavirus: Supermarkets more expensive since mid-March

Coronavirus: Supermarkets more expensive since mid-March
Credit: Colruyt

About 3,300 products in supermarkets in Belgium have become more expensive since the federal government banned discounts to prevent panic-buying mid-March.

Of those products, about 1,500 products have even become over 10% more expensive, a study by data company Daltix and commissioned by Het Laatste Nieuws shows. On average, supermarket prices have risen by 2.6%.

At the end of March, the restrictions on promotions were relaxed again, but the study shows that prices are still higher than they were before the ban.

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“Some supermarkets are not doing any special offers, while others are limiting their promotions," said retail expert Gino Van Ossel to VRT. "The government can ban discounts, but it cannot oblige supermarkets to reintroduce them," he added.

At the moment, supermarkets can only announce promotions or offers that were already agreed before the crisis, but introducing new discounts is not yet allowed.

Federal Minister for Economy Nathalie Muylle said she hopes that the National Security Council will discuss this measure on Friday, as several supermarkets, such as Colruyt, are asking to relax the measure further.

“Still, it could take some time for these discounts to appear,” said Van Ossel.

Supermarkets also pointed out that they cannot reintroduce promotions overnight, but that it's a whole mechanism that has to be restarted. “As soon as some players provide discounts and restart the competition, others will follow," Van Ossel added.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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