In an interview with Ecommercemag.fr, Jean-Denis Deweine, director of Auchan Retail France, discussed COVID-19’s impact on grocery retailing in France and the challenges and opportunities it has presented. Deweine looked particularly at the acceleration of the ecommerce channel’s growth during the lockdown period and as a result of the restrictions placed on shoppers due to COVID-19.
Targeting 15% share of sales from digital channels
Deweine explained at the beginning of 2020 its online stores account for more than 10% of Auchan’s total sales in France. While the channel was gaining, due to changing shopper behavious, COVID-19 accelerated the trends, leading to growth rates of around 100% during the first lockdown period. Deweine said Auchan expected 2020 to end with online accounting for more than 13% of total sales, after enjoying growth of 30%, while the retailer is targeting the share to reach 15% by 2022.
Pedestrian Drive to support short-term growth…
Despite being the first retailer to open a pedestrian Drive, Auchan did not expand the format until recently. It has opened five in Lille and its surrounding area, with three opened in early 2021, as the retailer looks to have 300 in operation by the end of 2021. Deweine said each new pedestrian Drive, when it opens, has 50% of its shoppers are new to Auchan and that they are younger than its usual shoppers.
…As Auchan evolves online offer to meet new shoppers’ needs
Deweine said the lockdown had encouraged comparatively older shoppers to try its Drive solution, as they saw it as providing a safe way to shop. He explained that due to this shopper group’s relatively higher purchasing power, Auchan had seen a growth in average basket size in recent months. It is also leading it to put a greater focus on the fresh ranges available through its Drives, especially upweighting its organic offer.
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