Auchan is one of France's biggest retail groups, operating primarily in the hypermarket and supermarket sectors. In addition to its domestic footprint, it has a strong presence in other developed markets in Western Europe, and a growing profile in Eastern Europe and China. In the latter market, the retail operations are now in effect a joint venture with Alibaba. Its hypermarkets operate mainly under the Auchan name (or Alcampo in Spain and RT Mart in China), supported by Simply Market supermarkets and convenience stores, though these are being gradually rebranded to the main Auchan name. Almost 3,780 stores operate under its various banners by the end of 2017. The main retail arm is partnered by real estate manager Ceetrus (formerly Immochan), which owns or manages almost 400 shopping malls in 12 countries; and by financial services arm Oney (previously known as Banque Accord). In France, Auchan was the country's #6 supermarket by market share in 2018, having steadily slipped behind its rivals. (It was ranked 4th as recently as 2015). The group reported net revenues of €53.2bn in 2017 (or over €62bn including franchisees). France accounts for a third of retail revenues. The business is privately controlled by the Mulliez family. Patriarch Gerard Mulliez founded Auchan as a grocery store in 1961, and is credited with inventing the hypermarket concept six years later. (The "Auchan" name was derived from the Hauts Champs district in Northern France where the first store was located). His nephew Vianney Mulliez, head of Groupe Auchan since 2006, stepped down in 2016 to run the real estate division. Instead, Edgard Bonte, another member of the wider Mulliez family, became chairman of the group holding company in 2018, and also of the main Auchan Retail division, overseeing an executive committee comprising 14 regional directors. Ali Khosrovi is director of Auchan Retail France. Now in his 80s, Gerard Mulliez is one of several brothers and cousins with extensive interests in the retail sector. The extended Mulliez family - which comprises some 700 cousins - constitutes France's 3rd wealthiest business dynasty behind the Bettencourt-Meyers (L'Oreal) and Arnaults (LVMH). Together they control around 60 other businesses including sports store Decathlon, DIY giant Leroy Merlin (Groupe Adeo) and garage chain Norauto, under the overall umbrella of the Association Familiale Mulliez.
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