Supermarkets and chain stores dominate the retail trade
The total surface area of French retail outlets grew by 7.6 million sq.m. to 77 million sq.m. between 2004 and 2009. The two drivers of this expansion were hypermarkets and the apparel/footwear sector, with gains of 27% and 17% respectively. While the number of outlets dipped 1%, the average surface area increased 12%, again driven by the growth of supermarkets and hypermarkets. These two categories accounted for one-half of retail-outlet jobs and two-thirds of retail-outlet sales in 2009. Hypermarkets alone employ 20% of the workforce and generate one-quarter of sales. The share of food hard-discounters rose in the five-year period. By 2009, these chain stores occupied more than one-quarter of superette and supermarket retail space. Chain stores strengthened their leadership in the retail-outlet trade with more than one-half of total jobs and two-thirds of the retail surface area. In a given size category and retail sector, chain stores generate more sales per employee or sq.m. than non-chain stores.