The price of school supplies up 8.5% over one year

The price of school supplies increased by 8.47% compared to the start of the school year last year, however remaining below the general increase in consumer products (+12.75%), according to a survey by the DGCCRF which shows rather wise behavior from professionals.

In detail, this inflation is “largely driven by the stationery department (+10.76%)”, compared to +5.13% for the writing department, reveals the survey by the Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and of Fraud Repression, transmitted Thursday to AFP. This was referred to by several ministers after the publication of alarming figures by consumer associations.

No increase in margins before the start of the school year

The increase in prices of these products over one year observed at the end of August was slightly lower than that at the beginning of July (+8.47% compared to 9.07%). The DGCCRF considers that “this does not support the hypothesis according to which distributors, as a whole, have increased their margins as the start of the school year approaches”.

For stationery items, the increase in prices is mainly explained by the increase in the price of paper, notes Fraud Repression. On average over 2022, producer prices of stationery items have increased by +16.2% due to the increase in wood prices.

Prices negotiated before the decline

In West Francethe office of the Minister of Commerce Olivia Grégoire notes that the increase in paper production prices is therefore higher than that of sales prices, and therefore “that we cannot conclude that there were undue margins of manufacturers and distributors.

The DGCCRF notes, however, that shelf prices “remain high”, despite the decline in paper and pulp prices. She attributes the cause, in particular, to the fact that the prices negotiated between suppliers and distributors were at the time of the only annual commercial negotiation, between December 2022 and March 2023, before the decline.

An argument which seems to go in the direction of those who would like to see more frequent rounds of negotiations.

Olivia Grégoire wants “group purchasing systems”

The discount rate on these products is up slightly (+0.6 percentage points to 34.2% compared to 2022): “From the spring, I asked distributors to include school supplies in their quarter anti-inflation: many have done it and there have been more promotions than last year”, welcomes Olivia Grégoire in West France.

She nevertheless recognizes that 8.5% inflation on supplies, “that’s still a lot”. “We must be able to work on group purchasing systems to buy even cheaper,” she said.

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