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Auchan CEO takes back control of his French stores

The new CEO Yves Claude now also holds the position of executive chairman of Auchan France and has appointed Philippe Brochard, chairman of the Russia subsidiary, as general manager.

With hypermarkets in difficulty, and shortly after the failure of a merger with Carrefour, the CEO of Auchan Retail took the reins of the group in France on Wednesday. Yves Claude, ex-president of Decathlon, was appointed at the end of November at the head of Auchan Retail, which brings together the distribution activities of the northern group in 11 countries. Shaking up the organization chart of the group, he “has decided to personally take on the executive presidency of Auchan France», Which had been vacant since the departure in October of Francis Cordelette. And brought in, as CEO, Philippe Brochard, previously president of the Russian subsidiary of Auchan, replacing Jean-Denis Deweine, in this position only since 2019.

The post of vice-president, until then held by the grandson of founder Alexandre Mulliez, has been abolished, the group also announced on Wednesday. The chain of stores belongs to the Mulliez Family Association (AFM), a galaxy of several hundred cousins ​​at the head of many other brands, such as Boulanger or Decathlon.

«At the start of 2021, a new governance embodied by Francis Cordelette, Alexandre Mulliez and Jean-Denis Deweine was appointed to define, in full autonomy and responsibility, a Business Project adapted and implemented by the French teams at most. close to consumer expectations“, Specified the group, which then evokes without naming it the aborted project of merger with Carrefour.

In search of another strategy

While the hypermarket format has suffered in recent years, Auchan and Carrefour were looking to create a distribution giant with their 2,000 and 12,000 respective points of sale around the world. Their ambition was to create the European equivalent of Walmart in the United States, or Alibaba in China, strong in food and non-food, online and in shopping centers. But while negotiations had been underway for months, Carrefour had ended up saying no to the marriage in early October, quite irritating the Auchan camp.

In France, the drop in sales was particularly noticeable in the first half of the year due to Auchan’s store structure: with the health crisis, many hypermarkets were affected by the closure of shopping centers for several weeks. Sales fell 2.5% in the first 6 months of 2021, to 7.824 billion euros. Excluding currency and gasoline, the drop is even 4.2%. According to Auchan, 40% of the drop in income is due to “10 hypermarkets located near borders, in tertiary or tourist areas», Very touched«by the consequences of government decisions». «Wishing to capitalize on the momentum and the projects carried out on this occasion, Auchan has decided to define, in France, a new strategy that will make it possible to truly act on what its business should be in the next 60 years.“Auchan continued on Wednesday in its press release.

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