Bretons: How are Breton companies doing in this crisis?
Malo Bouëssel du Bourg: At the height of containment, we questioned our network of 450 companies. 44% of our companies said they lost at least 50% of their turnover. 16% of them had lost everything, were temporarily at a standstill, in particular all companies in the field of culture and events. 66% of companies have mobilized partial unemployment mechanisms and 78% have set up teleworking.
Today, after confinement, the situation is very contrasted. Overall, we have low visibility insofar as the support mechanisms prevent us from seeing reality in all its crudeness. These support methods are effective, and we can clearly see that, in commercial courts, there is not that much jostling, there is no tsunami. For the moment, we have the impression that the economy is on drip. But, when we are going to remove the perf ‘, there, we are going to count the dead … It’s a bit of what everyone fears. With, for Brittany, a situation which is contrasted. There is probably still a little stronger resilience here due to the fact that Brittany is very strongly agrifood.
It is an area that has been less affected than others since people have continued to eat. But we can see that this has benefited more supermarkets and that it has penalized the commercial catering or collective catering circuits. Overall, we can say that the food industry is not doing too badly. It was hard because we discovered that certain companies depended exclusively on certain circuits. For example, a very small business can live a lot with colleges, high schools in its town, and the day it stops, it’s a disaster. This allowed small structures to think about the need to vary the channels, never to be dependent on a single channel, on a type of customer.
For culture and events, it’s always very hard. For services, it depends. If we wanted to globalize a bit, I would say that services have not generally returned to their previous level, with some not doing too badly, others for whom it is still difficult.
During confinement, it was said that short circuits had taken on a lot of importance, that the consumer had turned to local products. Did you feel it and how do you explain it?
The attraction of the population for local products is old but, during confinement, there was a real boom. We have an interesting figure: between the beginning of January and the end of August, supermarkets in France, for food, grew by 6.5%. This is huge, because before we were on sluggish trends, around 1%. Why is it huge? Because out-of-home catering has spilled over to supermarkets. At the same time, products bearing the Product in Brittany brand increased in France by 10.4% and in Brittany – in five departments – by 11.4%. We were already in a good dynamic of progression, with organic and local products, but there is a real boom for Produit en Bretagne. People realized that they had to help their farmers, their processors, that it was important, that they were working hard for them. Yes, there was a positive reflex to buy local.
Find the rest of this interview in the Bretons magazine n ° 169 of November 2020.
This article is produced by the Bretons magazine and hosted by 20 Minutes.