Business & Industry

Sep 1, 2015

Global Market, Global Distribution

Groupe Auchan bears the name of its historic business opened in 1961 by Gérard Mulliez - the first self-service shop in Roubaix in the district of Hauts-Champs, which pronunciation is very similar to "Auchan".

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 Today it is a federation of autonomous, responsible and enduringly prosperous companies, developing around a shared mission: "To improve the purchasing power and the quality of life of the greatest number of customers, with responsible, professional, committed and respected employees", which is based on three fundamental values: trust, sharing and progress.

Auchan is a French international retail group and multinational corporation headquartered in Croix, France. Privately owned by the founding Mulliez family--the more than 300 members of which hold 85 percent of the company's shares--Auchan also has long held a policy of opening its shares to its employees, who own 15 percent of the company (and some of whom have become millionaires through their stockholdings). The Auchan empire is based on the group's 211 'hypermarkets'--vast stores that combine traditional supermarkets with a department store concept in huge spaces ranging upward to 100,000 square feet--and its smaller supermarkets.

Organic growth is Groupe Auchan's preferred and historical mode of development. As an unlisted family firm, the Group is implementing a policy of progressive and controlled international growth, and is concentrating its investments on three priority development areas: Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, and Asia. This strategic choice allows the company to occupy solid positions in the countries in which it is present. The Group now has more than 1,700 consolidated stores.

Exploiting the complementarity nature of its retailing formats, the Group is also constantly seeking sales innovations and testing out new concepts, like online sales, drive-through, leading to the creation in 2010 of a dedicated e-commerce business line.

An international but decentralized group

Despite being thoroughly international, the particularity of Group Auchan is that it has preserved a decentralized way of working. Each chain, in each country, is independent, although it operates in synergy with the others and moves forward by sharing experiences and pooling its resources. This way of working allows for considerable proximity to customers, who are placed at the centre of every policy.

Preserving natural resources

Auchan's various activities have a clear impact on the population, with millions of customers coming into our stores and malls each day. With this in mind, the Group endeavours to minimise its carbon footprint to contribute to better preserving natural resources.

Waste recycling, for example, is a priority area. Training for teams concerned, creation of recycling systems and exchange of best practices between stores all improve recycling of daily waste. And as for plastic bags, the chains are cutting down on free bag distribution, and offering their customers biodegradable or re-usable alternatives, aiming at minimizing environmental impact.

Finally, Groupe Auchan is developing new processes to save water, including waterless urinals, and rainwater collection tanks on the roofs of stores.

Putting the customer at the heart of the strategy

In an environment where customers are increasingly demanding and fickle, Auchan is striving to better understand them, in order to better serve them.

Discount prices, choice and offer diversity, quality of service, adaptation to local markets, responsiveness to multi-channel purchasing behaviours: every decision, every policy, originates with the customer. By listening to the customer's expectations, Groupe Auchan's businesses constantly move forward for a modern, dynamic retail trade.

Product quality

Risk mapping is the main mission undertaken by the quality service as regards scientific monitoring, an essential decision-making and crisis-anticipation tool. It takes into account customer feedback data and crises that have occurred at Auchan stores or their competitors, as well as regular scientific forums concerning subjects of current interest. This risk mapping has been divided into three geographical regions since 2012 to give the most accurate reflection of the current local situation. Recurring subjects include hot chain management, quality of water distributed by national networks, and living and feeding conditions for farmed fish. Strict health controls are performed to ensure maximum product safety at every level. Every year, more than 100,000 products samples are analyzed. The chains are also implementing an agricultural sector policy, for better traceability.

Auchan is continually expanding its sustainable production range to meet customer requirements and expectations. With its highly-visible discount pricing policy and the introduction of dedicated aisles, organic products have become accessible to all budgets. Auchan wants to go beyond the standard definition of purchasing power by developing the "Responsible Discount" concept. The Responsible Discount approach aims to make environmentally-friendly products and services, which encourage healthy eating, accessible to all.

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