Exit plan: Supermarkets allowed to fully offer discounts again
Friday, 01 May 2020
Supermarkets in Belgium will be able to offer discounts and promotions again from 4 May, when the first phase of deconfinement will start.
The ban, that was implemented at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis to put a stop to panic-buying and hoarding, was initially published in the Belgian Official Journal in the form of a Ministerial Decree. Only promotions and discounts that had already been agreed on or carried out before 18 March were authorised.
The Federal Minister for Economy, Nathalie Muylle, had already indicated this week that she would propose to the government to withdraw the measure. In the new version, published on Thursday evening, the Decree has been withdrawn.
In recent days, voices had been raised to warn against price inflation in supermarkets, but also noted the fact that certain families had been deprived of all or part of their income because of the measures.
“For many families struggling to make ends meet at the moment, the promotions and discounts are indeed significant in terms of purchasing power,” Muylle said.
The weekly reports of the Federal Public Economy Service show the increase in food prices. However, this development was observed before the crisis began. In March, food prices rose less rapidly in Belgium than in the Netherlands or Germany.
The socialist PS party said that they wanted to go further than just re-authorising promotions and reductions, which will take some time to recover, and called for a more active role for the Price Observatory, as well as the possibility of imposing maximum prices.