A new form of shopping has taken hold in France in recent years: Drive supermarkets are experiencing a real boom. With more than 550 drive locations, E.Leclerc is one of the market leaders and has the desired goods ready for pickup within two hours after the online order is received.
A few years ago, it was still commonplace for French families to do their weekly shopping on Saturdays in "hypermarkets" with huge sales areas. In addition to groceries and fresh foods such as fish, meat, and cheese, the Leclerc hypermarkets' wide range of products also includes clothing, toys, housewares, and much more. The markets are mostly situated in local commercial areas and usually also have a gas station. These markets were already staying open until 8 p.m. when many of the unbranded gas stations in France were still closing early in the evening.
Drive supermarkets boom
A new form of shopping, the "drive" supermarkets, has taken hold in France in recent years. According to a publication by ICE Paris, 205 of these supermarkets were opened in the first six months of 2015 alone, and 23 of them were Leclerc stores. Industry revenues for 2015 are estimated to be EUR five billion, with 45 percent being attributed to the E.Leclerc group alone. Leclerc's average sales revenue per pick-up point is currently almost EUR 3.5 million.
The E.Leclerc group, founded in 1949, is comprised of independent business owners who own their businesses since the company acts as a franchisor. This independence is the key to the group's success that currently has 474 members. With all this initiative, E.Leclerc also plans to achieve the top priority: to reach as many customers as possible with its products and services.
"Order online— pick up two hours later at the supermarket."
The chain's supermarkets in Spain, Portugal and Italy, as well as Poland and Slovenia, are also based on this concept and on the basic idea of an association of independent European merchants. To date, there are already 112 stores outside France that generate EUR 2.4 billion in total sales. E.Leclerc ultimately established an alliance in 2006 of four independent European merchants that share a common vision for the future: Conad (Italy), Coop (Switzerland), REWE (Germany), and Colruyt (Belgium) have set out to pool their knowledge and experiences so they can offer consumers high-quality products and services at affordable prices.