While Carrefour and Auchan are putting the brakes on, E.Leclerc is continuing to open pedestrian drives: it will inaugurate its hundredth in March 2023. New dedicated establishments will be created by the company’s members this year.
And 100! E.Leclerc will inaugurate its hundredth pedestrian drive-through at the beginning of March 2023, in Lille. At the helm behind this symbolic opening? Thomas Pocher, the pioneer of this model at the retailer who had created its first pedestrian withdrawal space in 2017. He now owns five pedestrian drives in Lille and plans to open two more in 2023. The expansion of this format among E.Leclerc members comes as a surprise, while Carrefour is stopping openings altogether in 2023, due to insufficient profitability, and Auchan is taking a break while it rethinks the formula. Both retailers announced their decision at a LSA conference dedicated to proximity in November 2022.
Thomas Pocher’s answer? “To ensure the profitability of this model, I am massaging the logistics flows. I serve my five pedestrian drives with a single warehouse, which also supplies my hypermarket and my three car drives. This allows me to reduce costs.” He also chose to create only dedicated pedestrian drives, “to have a very clear value proposition for the customer. This also makes it possible to limit the surface area of the premises to a maximum of 100 square meters, compared with 200 to 300 for a convenience store. The rents for these potentially expensive downtown spaces therefore remain reasonable. This is essential to maintain decent margins when selling products at hypermarket prices”, points out this former Edhec graduate.