For the first time ever, France has more collection points ('drives') than it has hypermarkets. A remarkable feat, as the first 'drive' only appeared some 10 years ago and given the fact that France is the European birthplace of the hypermarket.
2,031 collection points
Ten years after Auchan surprised everyone with its very first "Chronodrive" in Marcq-en-Baroeul in northern France, the large French distributors have more collection points than they have hypermarkets: research firm Nielsen TradeDimensions has registered 2,031 drives and 2,022 hypermarkets.
Drives were the big addition these past two years, as more people go online to do their shopping. There are still some questions as to the profitability of these drives, but they are an invaluable resource in the fierce struggle for a larger market share.
Leclerc on top
It is all the more surprising to see that pioneer Auchan has been surpassed by its larger competitors. Leclerc (462 collection points) is by far the largest, ahead of Intermarché (379) and Carrefour (353).
Système U is fourth with 293 drives and Auchan is fifth with 162 drives, although it has split its drives into two categories: 93 are Auchan Drives, while 69 are Chronodrives. Casino is sixth with 131 collection points, according to Nielsen TradeDimensions.