60 years of hypermarkets: a half-hearted anniversary

The anniversary of the 60th anniversary of the hypermarchébut it turns out to be in half-teinte the crisis that this store format has experienced in recent years.

The birth of the model

June 15, 1963 marks one of the most important dates in French retailing. Facing a 250-space parking lot stood a 2500m2 store with no facade.

It is known as the "1stst self-service department self-service". It was erected in 6 months, in the open countryside of Essonne, by the company created 4 years earlier by the Fournier and Defforey families. It cost just €1,400 per m2, including furniture.

It has a reserve of 1700m2, which, for the first time, is adjacent to a a service stationThis will be a major factor in customer enthusiasm. The 5,000 references, with prices 15 to 20% lower than the competition, have attracted customers from a radius of 30 to 40km.

The French are discovering a new way shopping: for the first time, a store offers everything under one roof - fresh produce, dry goods, liquids, bazaar, furniture, etc...

The success and the store paid for itself in 3 years.

This type of retailing is becoming increasingly popular in France, and is expanding worldwide. There are now over 2,100 hypermarkets in France and tens of thousands worldwide.

While still dominant, the the concept has come under in recent years.

Hypermarkets in turmoil

Society is changing: more and more single-parent households and the ageing households are calling into question the weekly "shopping spree".

2-person households are reluctant to use their cars for shopping, and local supermarkets are working to lower prices, thanks in particular to their own brands. Hard discounters have appeared and are competing fiercely.

Urban sprawl has increased the price of land, and the fixed costs of hypermarkets have soared. Hypermarkets have become tiresome, too far, too big, sometimes too expensive.

In addition, citizens who are aware of sustainable development less dizzy in the consumer society. Last but not least, Internet is shaking up this model even further.

New players versus old models

From new players such as Amazon Fresh. The Internet giant, which wants to have a monopoly on commercial transactions, is attacking the food sector, which represents the largest market in the world. 2th item of household household expenditure, just after housing.

Thanks to the acquisition of Whole Food in June 2017, Amazon has completed its knowledge in this sector and launched its brand in 2020.

In China, JD.com is number 2 behind Alibaba. It targets a young, responsible, ultra-connected clientele. In this country, which has experienced many food scandals traceability is a major issue: 50% of purchases are made over the Internet, and customers can collect their goods or have them delivered by one of the electric vehicles that make almost 100 deliveries a day.

Today, one in 10 food sales in China is made outside the store.

Historic chains need to reduce their costs and adapt to new trends.

Casino has launched a darkstore, REAL is home to over 30,000 employees on probation, Carrefour has had to shed 3,000 employees and Auchan 700.

Source : LSA Conso - Growth continues

Carrefour and Casino may be under pressure on the superstore side, but they have successfully integrated convenience stores. They share Nevertheless, they share 70% of the surface area and 71% of the store base in France.

Although the model that was all the rage in the 60s is running out of steam, it's important to qualify this statement. Carrefour still owns more than 50% market share, and almost 94% of French households shop in hypermarkets at least once a year. The superstore is resisting because it still offers low prices on a wide range of products, and for young families and the less affluent.

Recent years have seen the emergence of a desire to personalize the offer and to make the customer journey as innovative innovative such as corner shops and multi-service areas.. Inventiveness seems to pay off.

By Claire Jagodzinski