The strike goes on: gloomy atmosphere in Rungis

Vincent Berlemont, communication and marketing manager at Desmettre, a multi-specialist fruit and vegetable wholesaler in Rungis, confirms that the market is very calm at the moment for all products. “Since the beginning of December, we have observed a 5% decrease in revenue compared to 2018, as well as a 7% drop in margin, which is about 200 tons less. There are currently fewer clients in Rungis than usual. Most roads are blocked, and this from early in the morning already. Some clients come as early as 3 o’clock in the morning when it opens and leave right away in order to avoid the traffic.”

According to Vincent, the clients are not coming to Rungis since the final consumer does not go to the stores or to the markets because of the strikes and transportation problems, but also because of the weather. “It is because of the strike but the weather also plays an important role. It’s cold and humid, there are floods in many regions of France so people don’t go to the markets as much. Therefore, clients buy less. The suppliers are also affected and unhappy about the situation because the merchandise doesn’t sell as fast. Delivering is also difficult since the roads are blocked.”

Parisian stores impacted
Another wholesaler in Rungis reports that the impact is especially very strong for Parisian stores. “Many of our clients are based in the nicer districts of Paris. That’s where the protesters are, so it is not possible to transport the products. My clients had a very bad weekend and worry about the supply for the Christmas holidays.”

The wholesaler adds that consumers cannot circulate in Paris to do their groceries. “Those who have cars go outside of Paris. Therefore, our clients’ activity outside of Paris is rather dynamic. They are not affected. In the suburbs, some stores even work a lot more than usual.”

Prices drop
“In Rungis, the atmosphere is gloomy,” reports a Dutch exporter. “The strikes have been going on for 13 days. The activity on the markets and in catering is very calm, which affects wholesalers. The Rungis market is not dynamic at all, and there are very few buyers due to the lower consumption, so the price of the merchandise drops, in order to try to sell off the stocks.

For wholesalers, the situation is very difficult. Some of them see their revenue over this period drop by 50%, while usually, consumption should be dynamic before the holidays.”

The protests are expected to continue in Paris and all over France, and the situation is likely to go on even after the holidays.


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