French personal product sales down amid price surge

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STORY: French consumers are buying fewer personal hygiene and household products as prices surge.

The change in shoppers' habits could become a new battleground for retailers, politicians and consumer goods makers.

The data was compiled by consumer buying experts NielsenIQ.

It showed overall sales volumes for shower gel and tampons fell in the year ended September 17.

Dishwashing products, laundry detergent and toilet paper also sold less.

Supermarket prices for items in each category were sharply higher so far this month compared to the same period last year.

President Emmanuel Macron's government is due to address grocery inflation in its budget on Wednesday (September 27).

It is expected to announce legislation to bring forward annual negotiations between food producers and supermarkets.

It hopes price cuts can then take effect from January rather than March 1 as usual.

Supermarkets and politicians have criticized major food makers like Nestle and Pepsico for not "co-operating'" in pricing talks, and for reducing pack sizes of products.

Leading French supermarket Carrefour put labels on products that are getting smaller with no price cuts last week.

Major brands like Ariel laundry detergent and Dove soaps have dominate the market over retailers' private label goods.

But the NielsenIQ data showed volumes for private label personal products are slowly going up.

Shower gel volumes fell by a tenth for big brands, but rose 14% for private label products.

Unilever declined to comment and Procter & Gamble did not respond to a request for comment for this story.