Thursday, 11 August 2011

Places: France/ The History of... Auchan.

Sourced from the Wikipedia 'Auchan' page...because I live dangerously...

Groupe Auchan SA is a French international retail group and multinational corporation headquartered in Croix, France. It is one of the world's principal distribution groups with a presence in 12 countries and 175,000 employees.
The company began when Gérard Mulliez opened his first self-service shop in Roubaix in the district of Hauts-Champs - pronounced the same as "Auchan".
Auchan has branches in France, and internationally in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Morocco, the People's Republic of China (欧尚 Ōu shàng), the Republic of China (Taiwan), Romania and Ukraine.
As of 26 October 2005, Auchan has 356 hypermarkets, 646 supermarkets and 2027 small shops around the world, as well as 116 hypermarkets in France. In several countries, including Poland and Ukraine, the chain has been confronted with protests linked to its labour policy.

Mulliez family

Auchan SA is controlled by the Mulliez family, one of the wealthiest in France. The Mulliez family has interests in a large number of companies:
  • Decathlon (sports stores, not part of Auchan group )
  • Norauto (car repairs, not part of Auchan group)
  • ADEO Group (DIY shops)
  • Boulanger (electronic devices shops)
  • Phildar (fabric stores)
  • Accord Bank (loans)
  • Kiabi (clothes shops, not part of Auchan group)
  • Cultura (cultural products, family not invested in it)
  • Pimkie (girls' clothes)


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)".

Auchan around the world

Country↓ First store↓ Hypermarkets↓ Supermarkets↓
France France 1961 121 294
Spain Spain 1981 49 128
Italy Italy 1989 47 275
Portugal Portugal 1996 22 4
Luxembourg Luxembourg 1996 2 -
Poland Poland 1996 37 33
Hungary Hungary 1998 12 -
People's Republic of China People's Republic of China 1999 114 -
Republic of China Republic of China (Taiwan) 2001 24 -
Russia Russia 2002 34 28
Romania Romania 2006 7 -
Ukraine Ukraine 2008 8 -

Auchan in the United States

Auchan previously had a subsidiary, Auchan U.S.A. As of 2002 Auchan was the only French hypermarket chain to still have a U.S. presence.
Auchan's first U.S. store opened in western Houston in 1988. The 250,000-square-foot (23,000 m2) market was located on a 31.3-acre (12.7 ha) plot of land on Beltway 8, north of U.S. Route 59. The store was one of the first hypermarkets to open in the U.S.
Auchan also opened a store in Greater Chicago in 1989. The store was a large hypermarket in the suburb of Bridgeview, Illinois. The store was not successful and was later bought by a local Chicago chain, Dominick's supermarkets, and converted into an Omni Superstore by 1991.
Auchan's second Greater Houston location opened in southeast Houston in September 2000. In 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. Auchan U.S.A. 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. The second remains unoccupied, but was used as a shelter for Hurricane Katrina victims in 2005 and Hurricane Ike victims in 2008 due to its large space.

Auchan's own-label product brands
  • Le Moins Cher (Translated: The least expensive) - Economy range similar to Asda Smartprice, Tesco Value or Sainsbury's Basics in the UK.
  • 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

Auchan divisions

  • France : Auchan, Atac, Simply Market, Auchan Direct, Voyages Auchan, Banque Accord, Alinéa.
  • People's Republic of China : Auchan, RT Mart, Immochan, Accord Consulting.
  • Spain : Alcampo, Sabeco, Simply Market, Immochan, accordfin.
  • Hungary : Auchan, Immochan, Accord Magyarország.
  • Italy : Auchan, smasupermercati, Cityper, Simply Market, Accord Italia.
  • Luxembourg : Auchan, Immochan.
  • Romania: Auchan, Immochan, Accord Intermed Consumer Finance.
  • Poland : Auchan, Alma, A-Tak, Immochan, Accord Finance, Simply Market.
  • Portugal : Jumbo, Pão de Açúcar, Oney.
  • Russia : Ашан, Atak, Immochan, BA Finans.
  • Republic of China (Taiwan): RT Mart, Immochan.
  • Ukraine: Ашан, Immochan, Oney.
  • On the Internet : Auchandirect, voyagesauchan

Auchan's other withdrawn ventures

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 2005.
In 1997 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 his Moroccan partner ONA, Auchan has sold its 49% in August 2007.
In January 2011 Auchan dropped out of the Dubai market after just two years.

Initial Public Offering

Sun Art Retail Group Ltd., the Chinese hypermarket operator backed by Auchan will Go Public in Hong Kong at July 15, 2011 with hope to raise about $1 billion.

*Oh, the amount of time I spent as a child in Auchan...a familiar love than will never be forgotten. Personally, I recommend the apricot "boat biscuits" (well, that's what I used to call them anyway)...they are..."delicieux".

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