Fifty years ago, Carrefour opened France's first hypermarket
On 15 June 1963, Carrefour opened France’s first hypermarket in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, just outside Paris. This new retail format was designed to meet the needs of French consumers, who at that time were discovering new ways to do their shopping. With 220 stores in France, the Carrefour hypermarket remains today a major presence in the day-to-day lives of the French public.
1963, the birth of “everything under one roof” shopping in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois
The Carrefour hypermarket in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois gave rise to the concept of “everything under one roof”, stocking more than 5,000 self-service items: a wide variety of food and fresh produce, the community’s first fish market, household goods, a DIY department and a range of apparel. Initially spanning 2,500 sq.m, it was three times larger than other stores of that era. Moreover, in a first for French retailing, it offered 450 parking spaces for customers, along with a fuel pump.
The store proved such a success that on opening day, its 70 employees were already restocking shelves that had been mobbed by shoppers. The basic concept of the hypermarket had arrived: everything sold under one roof, at low prices, with customer parking.
Carrefour subsequently opened the first hypermarket in Spain in 1973, the first in Brazil in 1975 and the first in China in 1996.
In 2013, an ever expanding selection for shoppers in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois
Today, the hypermarket in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois welcomes 1.7 million customers each year. It has trebled in size to more than 8,000 sq.m, and parking capacity has doubled to nearly 900 spaces. Its shelves hold 19,000 different products.
The Sainte-Geneviève store has tailored its offerings to the needs of the community’s shoppers, and now includes:
- a “market” area with a traditional meat department, ham cellar and cheese cellar, along with a sushi bar where maki and sashimi are prepared onsite each day;
- a selection of local products, including produce and regional cheeses;
- an organic foods department with more than 1,000 organically grown products;
- a digital wall with touch screen, the first of its kind in France: with the help of a sales representative, customers can use this new retail concept to compare a wide variety of household appliances and high-tech products, displayed in actual size and in 3D, and then place an order and have the products delivered to their home;
- customer services such as package delivery, vehicle hire and ticket sales for entertainment events;
- a health and beauty care department with over 3,000 items;
- and soon, new services including a Drive for pick-up of online purchases and free WiFi.
The Carrefour store in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois has also installed the latest equipment for reducing its impact on the environment:
- new closed refrigeration units that have reduced the store’s energy consumption by about 20%;
- a recharging station for electric vehicles.
Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois: a neighbourhood hypermarket
Located in the heart of the community, the Sainte-Geneviève hypermarket provides a boost to the local economy:
- it’s the town’s largest employer, with 280 employees;
- it partners with nearly a dozen local suppliers;
- it provides supports to three local sporting and charitable organizations, including the community’s long-standing judo club and its rugby club as well as “L’Escale”, a charity food shop for which the hypermarket donates food and conducts food drives and also funded the purchase of a refrigerated vehicle.
Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois celebrates its hypermarket
In celebration of this birthday, beginning on 15 June the residents of Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois will find a collection of vintage cars in the store’s parking lot, along with an exhibit on 50 years of shopping, a contest and plenty of other happenings and sales events, while the store’s 280 employees will be wearing brightly coloured vintage work clothes typical of 1963.
Address: 139 Route de Corbeil, 91702 Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, France
Hours: Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 9:30 pm, Saturday from 8:30 am to 9:15 pm
For more information, visit www.quiainventelhyper.com (in French)
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