Networks in retailing: groupings in the food sector, branches in the clothing sector
In 2005, 120,000 of France's total 430,000 retail outlets were grouped into networks under a common banner or around a central purchasing office. Having established commonalities of interest, these networks have been expanding in the past thirty years or so. Today, one thousand networks generate 84% of retail sales. There are three prevailing forms of organization: branches, sales outlets belonging to a grouping, and franchises. One half of the networks are mixed: not all stores in a given network are linked to its head unit by the same type of contract. Groupings are among the largest kind of network, averaging 200 outlets. “Pure” branch networks are the smallest, with an average of 60 outlets. The predominant forms are as follows: branch networks in clothing and footwear; groupings in the supermarket and hypermarket sector; and franchisees in food (excluding department stores) and craft businesses.