Auchan (French pronunciation: [oʃɑ̃]) is a French multinational retail group headquartered in Croix, France. It was founded in 1961 by Gérard Mulliez and is owned by Mulliez Family, which has 95% stake in the company. With 354,851 employees, of which 261,000 have 5% stake in the company, it is the 35th largest employer in the world.
|Type||Private company, SA|
Number of locations
|France, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, China, Taiwan, Tajikistan, United Arab Emirates|
|Edgard Bonte (Chairman)|
|Products||Hypermarket, Supermarket, Convenience store|
|Revenue||€50,986 million (2018)|
|€–857 million (2018)|
|€–946 million (2018)|
|Total assets||€35,935 million (2018)|
|Total equity||€7,939 billion (2018)|
Number of employees
|Parent||Auchan Holding (Mulliez Family)|
The name comes from the first Auchan shop in Roubaix in the district of Hauts-Champs, the pronunciation of which is identical to that of "Auchan".
The holding company, Auchan Holding, includes Auchan Retail International, Ceetrus, which operates shopping centers and Oney, which offers financial services. It operates as Alcampo in Spain ("al campo" is the literal Spanish translation of the French "au champ"), Auchan in Portugal, Aшан (Ashan) in Russia and Ukraine, and through a joint-venture as RT-Mart in China (Auchan brand is also used) and Taiwan.
As of 2019, Auchan is one of the world's largest retailers with a direct presence in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Hungary, and China.
1961-1969: The beginnings
After meeting the founders of the Carrefour and Leclerc, on July 6, 1961, Gérard Mulliez opens the first Auchan store in a disused factory of the company Phildar, founded by his father, also named Gérard. Covering an area of 600 m2, this store was located in the district of Hauts-Champs, in Roubaix. Originally, the store was to be called "Ochan", but because of the Japanese sounding, changed the name to "Auchan". The choice of the initial letter "A" was desired by the founders to appear in first place in directories. Gérard Mulliez relied on the advice of Édouard Leclerc to open his first supermarket. This store had to be closed in the 1980s because of strong competition with the one that had been built in Leers. The building was bought by the Intermarché. In 2003 it was demolished to make space for a more modern store.
In the summer of 1967, on 20 August, Auchan opens its first hypermarket in Roncq in an initially commercial area of 3500 m2. According to Gérard Mulliez, Roncq location served as a model for other hypermarkets in France in non-food enlargement. On March 27, 1969 was opened the Englos-les-Géants shopping center at Englos in the Lille metropolis. Englos les Giants was the first shopping mall with a hypermarket and a retail park in France.
* Auchan holds 38.5% stake in China and 60% stake in Taiwan.
Suzhou Jinji Lake store that is located in Suzhou Industrial Park had nine million visitors during that fiscal year with over four hundred million turnover and became one of the biggest Auchan hypermarkets in the world. Suzhou store expanded in 2008 and is the biggest Auchan Hypermarket in China, the second biggest in the world. Also, Auchan China led to open its online shopping website for the stores in Shanghai and Suzhou.
Auchan offers online shopping only in those two cities so far and is opening in Suzhou its first AuchanDrive store, based on its French model (click & go) in May 2012. The AuchanDrive service allows customers to purchase groceries online for home delivery, these locations being examples of online supermarkets in China.
In 2020, Auchan leaves China, after selling its shares to Alibaba.
Auchan (branded as Aшан) has been active on the Russian market since 2002 and had over 100 hypermarkets in the country by December 2016. It's the company's third largest market, after France and China. Revenues for the country reached $5 billion in 2014, ranking third behind the local retailers X5 Retail Group and Magnit. In 2016 it was ranked first in a list of the largest foreign-owned companies by the Russian edition of Forbes.
Auchan Holding is composed by Auchan Retail, Ceetrus and Oney.
Ceetrus (former Immochan) is the division which operates shopping centers and hypermarket galleries.
The slogan of the company was La Vie, La Vraie, which translates into English as "Life, the real one". The slogan was changed in 2007 to: La vie Auchan, elle change la vie – "Auchan's lifestyle changes life (itself).
Own-label product brands
- Le Moins Cher (Translated: The least expensive) – Economy range similar to Asda Smartprice, Tesco Everyday Value or Sainsbury's Basics in the UK. In Portugal, it's called "Polegar" (Translated: Thumb (Up)).
- Les Produits Auchan (Translated: Auchan Products) – Own brand of products
- Rik et Rok – Products designed for children (this is also a "club" for children)
- Les Produits Régionaux (Translated: The regional products)- Regional products such as Breton biscuits
- Mmm! – Gourmet Auchan products.
- Mieux Vivre Bio/Sans Gluten (Translated: Live Better Organic/Without Gluten) – Auchan products that are either organic or without gluten.
- Baby – Auchan products designed for babies.
- Sabores de Portugal (Translated: Flavours of Portugal) – Exclusive brand for regional Portuguese products, available only in Portugal.
- Каждый День (Kazhdyi Den', translated: Every day) – Local economy brand in Russia, positioned as having the lowest (even compared to other Auchan brands) price while meeting all quality standards. Same applies for Ukraine, while it is named Кожен День (Kozhen Den', Every Day)
- Наша Семья (Nasha sem'ja', translated: Our Family) – Local middle-class brand in Russia.
- Selecline – Electrical appliances and electronics sold by Auchan.
- Qilive – Electrical appliances, electronics and some computer accessories sold by Auchan
- Inexive – Electrical appliances and electronics sold by Auchan
- Cup's – Fitness and sports equipment
- Cosmia – Cosmetics and beauty products
- Actuel – Premium kitchen utensils, home decor and appliances
- Airport – Suitcases and travel equipment
- gardenstar – Gardening tools and other equipment
Auchan opened a number of stores in Mexico; the first of these opened in Mexico City in 1997 and eventually grew to five stores. Faced with stiff competition from Wal-Mart, as well as local superstore chains Gigante and Comercial Mexicana, and French rival Carrefour (who also sold their stores and left the country in March 2005), Auchan decided to sell their stores to Comercial Mexicana and withdrew from Mexico in early 2003, most of these stores were sold to Soriana in 2015.
In 2002 Auchan sold its hypermarkets in Thailand to Groupe Casino.
In 2007 Auchan sold its Argentine stores to Wal-Mart and withdrew from the country.
Following a conflict with its Moroccan partner ONA, Auchan sold its 49% share in August 2007.
In 2019 Auchan withdrawn from Italy due to financial losses, by selling most of the activities of its Auchan Retail Italia to the Italian retailer Conad. Also withdraw from Vietnam due to losses and slow development.
Auchan did business in the United States from 1988 to 2003 as Auchan Hypermarket under its subsidiary, Auchan USA, who was the successor of interest to Texfield Inc. By the time of its closing it was the only French hypermarket chain to still operate American stores, as other hypermarket chains, such as Carrefour and E.Leclerc (under the guise of Leedmark) gave up in the United States market around 1993–1994.
The first American Auchan (pronounced by Houstonians as “o-shawn”) store opened in western Houston on October 14, 1988. The 250,000-square-foot (23,000 m2) hypermarket was located on a 31.3-acre (12.7 ha) plot of land on Beltway 8, north of U.S. Route 59/Interstate 69. The store was one of many hypermarkets to open in the U.S in the late 80's, after Walmart debuted Hypermart USA in December 1987, and Carrefour's Philadelphia store debuted in March 1988. David Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle said "it was fairly unusual and became something of a tourist attraction" when it had first opened, as it was big enough to house many small businesses in front, such as a travel agency, a jewelry store, a bank, and a food court containing a Taco Bell, McDonald's, and Pizza Hut. It also featured a huge cheese selection, a huge beer and wine selection, featuring local breweries such as Celis White, and a bakery, and like most hypermarkets operating in the U.S. in the late 1980s, as well as Aldi, Auchan also made customers use quarters to use the shopping carts, and in order to appeal to Houstonians, it had a huge seafood selection, as well as rodeo wear.
Auchan also opened a store in the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview, Illinois, in 1989. It only sold food, and it was not as large as the Houston store. In 1991 the store closed. It was later bought by a local Chicago supermarket chain, Dominick's, and converted into an Omni Superstore by 1991.
Auchan's second Greater Houston location opened in southeast Houston in September 2000, in a former Target store, which Auchan heavily renovated (and partially built up on) prior to opening, the most obvious example being the entrances, designed to make it look huge, despite its past as a Target. Kaplan said, "Auchan had solid business its first years, but with only two stores in the country, the company lacked buying power and economy-of-scale advantages." In early January 2003 Auchan announced that both of its U.S. stores were making losses and were going to be closed; Auchan stated that it was instead going to concentrate its expansion in Asia and Europe, and on January 6, 2003, Auchan closed the two money-losing stores, ending all American operations after 15 years. Auchan USA sold its first Houston location to Ho Enterprises. Lewis Food Town occupied about 110,000 square feet (10,000 m2) of the space, with the rest of the space taken by other tenants, which makes the store a bit like a mini-mall today. Kaplan said that by 2003, "the Houston market is saturated with huge discounters and large grocery stores." In addition, many similar stores, including an H-E-B Food and Drug Store, the Hong Kong Supermarket, a Sam's Club, and a Wal-Mart had opened in proximity to the west Houston Auchan. In Europe, zoning laws would prevent such a high concentration of similar stores. Kaplan further added that "In Europe, shopping malls are not as prevalent as they are in America, and Auchan's everything-under-one-roof concept has greater appeal" in Europe rather than in the United States. The second former Auchan is now used by a local scaffolding company, and was used as a shelter for Hurricane Katrina victims in 2005 and Hurricane Ike victims in 2008 due to its large space.
According to study by ASM Sales Force Agency, Auchan was cheapest shop in Poland, in class of shops that study checks.
Building collapse at Savar
On 24 April 2013, the eight-story Rana Plaza commercial building collapsed in Savar, a sub-district near Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. At least 1,127 people died and over 2,438 were injured. The factory housed a number of separate garment factories employing around 5,000 people, several shops, and a bank and manufactured apparel for brands including the Benetton Group, Joe Fresh, The Children's Place, Primark, Monsoon, and DressBarn. Of the 29 brands identified as having sourced products from the Rana Plaza factories, only 9 attended meetings held in November 2013 to agree a proposal on compensation to the victims. Several companies refused to sign including Walmart, Carrefour, Mango, Auchan and Kik. The agreement was signed by Primark, Loblaw, Bonmarché and El Corte Ingles.
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