E Leclerc is France's biggest supermarket retailer, slowly widening its lead over long-time arch-rival Carrefour. After years of trailing Carrefour by a few fractions of a percent, Leclerc finally seized the lead in early 2017 and has retained it ever since. Leclerc ended 2020 with 22% of the French groceries market to Carrefour's 19.5%. The chain remains a co-operative, with virtually all its 720 main stores and 2,540 specialist outlets in France run by a network of 592 independent owner-operators. Manufacturing, distribution and marketing is managed centrally by ACDLec, the coordination body chaired by Michel-Edouard Leclerc, son of the chain's founder and now the main spokesman for "Le Mouvement Leclerc". He has also pushed the group aggressively into grocery pick-up (Leclerc Drive) and home delivery (Leclerc Chez Moi) - it had almost half the national market for ecommerce groceries by the end of 2020. The chain has built its reputation by battling against government monopolies and price controls in order to sell high quality goods at rock-bottom prices. It regularly courts media headlines to accuse suppliers or rivals (especially Carrefour) of over-pricing, and also conducts high profile political campaigning on consumer rights and environmental issues. For more than 20 years, for example, it has sponsored an annual waste collection project, Nettoyons la Nature ("Let's Clean Up The Landscape"), mobilising 500,000 volunteers around the country to pick up rubbish in urban and rural areas. Private label or exclusive products form the largest share of group sales. Marque Repere is the umbrella name for a huge range of more than 2,000 foods and other consumer goods which are on permanent discount promotion. There are similar promotional schemes for higher price goods (Eco+) and regional specialties (Nos Regions Ont Du Talent). Tissaia is the store's private label clothing brand. The group has gradually extended its footprint beyond France, most notably into Spain, Poland and Portugal, but that part of the business remains small compared to other French grocery retailers. Meanwhile, the group has also moved into a huge a variety of additional sectors ranging from utilities to funeralcare to travel services. It is also the country's foremost mass-market jeweller (as Le Manege a Bijoux) and a leading petrol retailer. As a private concern Leclerc is notoriously cautious about releasing financials. For 2019, it disclosed group revenues of €40.1bn (excluding fuel sales), of which €38.9bn was generated in France.
Capsule checked 2nd February 2021
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Who are the competitors of Leclerc? Aside from Carrefour, Leclerc's other main competitors in the French grocery market are Intermarché (15.9% market share for 12 weeks to Dec 2020, according to Kantar Worldpanel), Systeme U (11.1%), Auchan (10.5%), Groupe Casino (7.8%), and Lidl (6.8%). See Retail Sector for other companies
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Adbrands Daily Update 14th Feb 2020: "Being Responsible Can Be Hard". It's all well and fine for eco-warriors to lecture consumers on the need to adapt to a more environmentally conscious lifestyle, but for most people change is hard, and it's important to adapt the message accordingly. BETC have got it spot on here with an entertaining film for leading French supermarket Leclerc. It adopts takes a gentler persuasive tone, bolstered by a succession of clever little sight pro-organic gags. Helpfully, the agency has also provided an English language version so we can all enjoy the concept of, among other delights, grass-flavoured toothpaste.
Adbrands Social Media 3rd Apr 2019: "Baby". BETC's first big campaign for top French supermarket chain Leclerc has arrived, with two spots that remind us just how much those major life events actually cost. You're not having a baby (or a holiday, in the accompanying ad) but a big shopping list, so it's just as well Leclerc is not only famous for its low prices but also sells everything you might need. (Even nanny services?) It's a clever idea, and it makes sense as a campaign approach, but I'm not sure how well it comes across. It just makes those major life events sound like a bit of a downer. Might it have worked better without stating the Euro value of each of those items? Even at Leclerc that's a whopping great bill.
Adbrands Weekly Update 28th Jun 2018: After a quiet week last week, there were a flurry of major account changes over the past three days. Biggest of the bunch was the transfer of top French supermarket E Leclerc's €370m creative account from long time incumbent independent Australie to Havas's BETC.
Adbrands Weekly Update 18th Jan 2017: After years of neck-and-neck rivalry, French cooperative E Leclerc has finally overtaken Carrefour as that country's biggest supermarket retailer. Kantar's latest figures for the 12 weeks to Jan 11th gave Leclerc a leading 21.0% market share, that chain's highest ever figure. Carrefour slipped back to 20.7%, effectively reversing the positions the two groups occupied in October. No other chain had over 15%.
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