Contractual relations in retail networks
French retail firms are tending to form networks in order to expand. Whether permanent or temporary, tight or loose, relations between network members are defined by contract, whether the relations concern the services provided by the network head company or the obligations of independent sales outlets. Four categories of relations stand out. For some networks, notable those operating on a franchise or commission-affiliation basis, the links are numerous and diversified. By contrast, some networks are based on looser contractual relations. Between the two, some networks, particularly groupings, are characterized by the size of their members' financial commitments. Others, such as networks with a majority of integrated units, focus their structure on a “product” strategy.