PARIS: Sales of own-label products are rising in France, as shoppers in the country seek to reduce their expenditure levels in the grocery sector.

A study by Xerfi, the research firm, suggested that private label products accounted for 36% of all purchases made in French supermarkets last year.

This marked a new record high, and constituted an uptick of 12% when compared with the start of the decade, a process that has been encouraged by the onset of the economic downturn.

Elsewhere, Nielsen has reported that store brand sales jumped by 3.2% in France in 2009, at a time when national brands saw demand contract by 3.9%.

Leclerc, Carrefour and Magasins U also saw the totals posted by their in-house ranges expand by 10% in this period, as shoppers looked for cheaper alternatives in an effort to save money.

"For retailers, these brands offer numerous advantages," said Laurent Thoumine, a partner at Kurt Salmon, the consultancy. "They require less marketing and offer better margins."

The rise of own-label may also have contributed to halting the growth of deep discounters, which saw their share of the French grocery market decline in the first quarter of 2010, according to Kantar. 

Data sourced from Associated Press; additional content by Warc staff