According to reports, Auchan is preparing to launch a new concept that fuses a Drive outlet with a fresh food store.
Combined format to launch in March
Trade press reports suggest that Auchan will open a new format, possibly under the 'Multifrais' banner, that will see a Drive (click and collect for grocery) unit combined with a fresh food supermarket. Due to open in March in the Paris region, Multifrais continues a sustained period of format development for Auchan, with fresh food concept Partisans du Gout in Lille a recent concept we visited - see the presentation here.
Addressing the challenge of selling fresh online
Multifrais will look to tackle the challenge of selling fresh food online. Shoppers will be able to collect their ambient groceries and non-food ordered online at a Drive pick up point, then presumably park and shop a fresh food offer in a physical store environment. While this allows shoppers to 'touch and feel' fresh produce, a barrier to shopping fresh online, they will face the inconvenience of parking and walking through a store. Other retailers are also tackling this challenge across their respective webstores, with freshness guarantees, relevant marketing, and improved product imagery.
Price remains a major focus for Auchan
While format innovation is an important part of Auchan's strategy, delivering its 'discount price policy' across the core estate remains critical given the challenging trading environment in France. This week an advertising campaign is promoting fresh produce available for less than EUR1; 14 fruit and vegetable and 12 meat products are included in the offer, highlighting that fresh and price remain battlegrounds in France.
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