French multinational retail company

  • Increase €32.9 billion (2022)[2]
  • €30.5 billion (2021)
  • €31.6 billion (2020)[3]
Increase €1.6 billion (2020)[3]
Net income
Increase €708 million (2020)[3]Total assetsDecrease €1.169 billion (2020)[3]Total equityDecrease €6.704 billion (2020)[3]
Number of employees
  • Decrease 160,407 (2022)[2]
  • 163,098 (2021)
  • 179,590 (2020)[3]
Auchan hypermarket in Vélizy-Villacoublay, France

Auchan (French pronunciation: [oʃɑ̃]) is a French multinational retail group headquartered in Croix, France.[4] It was founded in 1961 by Gérard Mulliez and is owned by the Mulliez family, who has 95% stake in the company.[5] With 354,851 employees, of which 261,000 have 5% stake in the company, it is the 35th largest employer in the world.

The company operates under the name Auchan in France, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Portugal, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Tunisia, as Alcampo in Spain, as Aшан (Ashan) in Russia, Ukraine and Tajikistan. The company has also set up operations as Auchan in Italy, China and Taiwan.

The name comes from the first Auchan shop in Roubaix in the district of Hauts-Champs, the pronunciation of which is identical to that of "Auchan".[6]

As of 2022, Auchan is one of the world's largest retailers with a direct presence in France, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, Russia, Taiwan and Senegal. In 2022, the company's revenue in Russia amounted to 237 billion rubles.[7]

Auchan is a rare example of a Western company continuing to operate in Russia after the country's invasion of Ukraine in 2022,[8] as well as actively funding and supporting Russian military effort.[9][10] Because of that Ukrainian National Agency on Corruption Prevention listed the company among International Sponsors of War.[11]

Auchan in Bieruń, Poland


1961–1969: The beginnings

After meeting the founders of the Carrefour and Leclerc,[12] on 6 July 1961, Gérard Mulliez opens the first Auchan store in a disused factory of the company Phildar, founded by his father, also named Gérard.[13] Covering an area of 600 m2, this store was located in the district of Hauts-Champs, in Roubaix. Originally, the store was to be called "Ochan", but because of the Japanese sounding, changed the name to "Auchan".[14] The choice of the initial letter "A" was desired by the founders to appear in first place in directories. Gérard Mulliez relied on the advice of Édouard Leclerc to open his first supermarket. This store had to be closed in the 1980s because of strong competition with the one that had been built in Leers. The building was bought by the Intermarché. In 2003 it was demolished to make space for a more modern store.

In the summer of 1967, on 20 August, Auchan opens its first hypermarket in Roncq in an initially commercial area of 3500 m2.[15] According to Gérard Mulliez, Roncq location served as a model for other hypermarkets in France in non-food enlargement.[16] On 27 March 1969 was opened the Englos-les-Géants shopping center at Englos in the Lille metropolis. Englos les Giants was the first shopping mall with a hypermarket and a retail park in France.[17]

Mulliez family

Auchan SA is controlled by the Mulliez family, one of the wealthiest in France and in Europe. The Mulliez family also owns Leroy Merlin, Decathlon and other retailers.

Auchan operations

Country Name First store Hypermarkets Supermarkets Convenience stores Shopping centres
France Auchan 1961 119 241 9 83
Spain Alcampo 1981 61 65 49 29
Luxembourg Auchan 1996 2 1 - 2
Portugal Auchan 1996 31 4 29 13
Poland Auchan 1996 70 27 5 24
Romania Auchan 2006 33 7 135 23
Hungary Auchan 1998 19 6 - 18
Russia Aшан 2002 62 193 12 38
Ukraine Aшан 2008 22 8 - 3
Taiwan RT-Mart 2001 18 - 4 22
Senegal Auchan 2015 1 18 - -
Mauritania Auchan 2015 - 2 - -
Tajikistan Aшан 2016 1 - - -
Tunisia Magasin Général 2012 - 81 - -


Auchan opened its first store in Shanghai in 1999. It operates through Sun Art Retail Group, a public company listed in Hong Kong, in which Auchan holds 38,5% stake and Alibaba Group 26%.[18]

Suzhou Jinji Lake store that is located in Suzhou Industrial Park had nine million visitors during that fiscal year with over four hundred million turnover and became one of the biggest Auchan hypermarkets in the world. Suzhou store expanded in 2008 and is the biggest Auchan Hypermarket in China, the second biggest in the world. Also, Auchan China led to open its online shopping website for the stores in Shanghai and Suzhou.

Auchan offers online shopping only in those two cities so far and is opening in Suzhou its first AuchanDrive store, based on its French model (click & go) in May 2012. The AuchanDrive service allows customers to purchase groceries online for home delivery, these locations being examples of online supermarkets in China.

Since 2017, a number of unmanned convenience stores, marketed as BingoBox, are being operated by Auchan in China.[19][20]

In 2020, Auchan leaves China, after selling its shares to Alibaba.


Auchan featured with the "Ашан" sign in Orekhovo-Zuyevo, Moscow Oblast, Russia
Auchan interior on Proletarsky Prospekt in Moscow

Auchan (branded as Aшан) has been active on the Russian market since 2002 and had over 100 hypermarkets in the country by December 2016. It's the company's third largest market, after France and China.[21] Revenues for the country reached $5 billion in 2014, ranking third behind the local retailers X5 Retail Group and Magnit.[22] In 2016 it was ranked first in a list of the largest foreign-owned companies by the Russian edition of Forbes.[23]

In November 2021, Russian “Auchan” signed with online-delivery service "Sbermarket" a deal of strategic partnership in e-commerce until 2028. First, from 2022, both partners will be focused on delivery from darkstores as well as delivery and loyalty programs for B2B clients.[24] In January 2022, Russian Auchan switched on 73 stores (more than a half of its stores, including "Atak") to Sbermarket delivery.[25] One of few western companies still operating in Russia after the country invaded Ukraine. Auchan have continued their operations in Russia, arguing they will continue to do so for "humanitarian reasons".

Auchan was added to the Ukrainian International Sponsors of War list following the 2023 joint investigation by The Insider, Bellingcat and Le Monde claimed that Auchan Russia is actively supporting Russian military in Ukraine by periodically supplying food, clothes, cigarettes and other items. Official Auchan communications claimed these items were supplied to Donbas as "humanitarian help" but as noted in the investigation, all collected items were targeted at "adult men" including items that are never[citation needed] supplied in regular humanitarian help, such as cigarettes, and were thus intended for Russian soldiers. Auchan Russia reportedly both organizes "mandatory voluntary" collections among its employees and provides batches of these items for free.[9][10]

Elo Group

Elo Group, previously known as Auchan Holding, is the holding company of Auchan Retail. It also includes New Immo Holding (previously known as Ceetrus and Immochan), the division which operates shopping centers and hypermarket galleries and Oney (previously known as Bank Accord), the financial services group that offers consumer credits and Auchan and Leroy Merlin credit cards.


The slogan of the company was La Vie, La Vraie, which translates into English as "Life, the real one". The slogan was changed in 2007 to: La vie Auchan, elle change la vie – "Auchan's lifestyle changes life (itself).

Withdrawn ventures

Former Auchan hypermarket in Cesano Boscone, Milan, Italy

Auchan opened a number of stores in Mexico; the first of these opened in Mexico City in 1996 and eventually grew to five stores.The first store located in Tlatelolco, was sold to Comercial Mexicana in 1998. Faced with stiff competition from Wal-Mart, as well as local superstore chains Gigante and Comercial Mexicana, and French rival Carrefour (who also sold their stores and left the country in March 2005), Auchan decided to sell their stores to Comercial Mexicana and withdrew from Mexico in early 2003, the 3 stores located in Tlatelolco, Gran Sur and Arboledas, were sold to Soriana in 2016.

In 2002 Auchan sold its hypermarkets in Thailand to Groupe Casino.

In 2007 Auchan sold its Argentine stores to Wal-Mart and withdrew from the country.

Following a conflict with its Moroccan partner ONA, Auchan sold its 49% share in August 2007.

Parque Milenium
Former Auchan hypermarket in Puebla, Mexico

In January 2011 Auchan withdrew from the Dubai market after just two years.[26]

The first Italian Auchan hypermarket was opened in Turin on 1989. In 2019 Auchan withdrew from Italy due to financial losses, by selling most of the activities of its Auchan Retail Italia to the Italian retailer Conad. Also withdrew from Vietnam due to losses and slow development.[27]

United States

Auchan did business in the United States from 1988 to 2003 as Auchan Hypermarket under its subsidiary, Auchan USA,[28] who was the successor of interest to Texfield Inc.[29] By the time of its closing it was the only French hypermarket chain to still operate American stores, as other hypermarket chains, such as Carrefour and E.Leclerc (under the guise of Leedmark) gave up in the United States market around 1993–1994.[30]

The first American Auchan (pronounced by Houstonians as “o-shawn”) store opened in western Houston on 14 October 1988.[31] The 250,000-square-foot (23,000 m2) hypermarket was located on a 31.3-acre (12.7 ha) plot of land on Beltway 8, north of U.S. Route 59/Interstate 69. The store was one of many hypermarkets to open in the U.S in the late 80's, after Walmart debuted Hypermart USA in December 1987, and Carrefour's Philadelphia store debuted in March 1988.[28] David Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle said "it was fairly unusual and became something of a tourist attraction" when it had first opened, as it was big enough to house many small businesses in front, such as a travel agency, a jewelry store, a bank, and a food court containing a Taco Bell, McDonald's, and Pizza Hut. It also featured a huge cheese selection, a huge beer and wine selection, featuring local breweries such as Celis White, a bakery, a large seafood selection and rodeo wear.[32]

Auchan also opened a store in the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview, Illinois, in 1989.[33] It only sold food, and it was not as large as the Houston store. In 1991 the store closed.[32] It was later bought by a local Chicago supermarket chain, Dominick's, and converted into an Omni Superstore by 1991.

Auchan's second Greater Houston location opened in southeast Houston in September 2000, in a former Target store, which Auchan heavily renovated (and partially built up on) prior to opening, the most obvious example being the entrances, designed to make it look huge, despite its past as a Target.[31] Kaplan said, "Auchan had solid business its first years, but with only two stores in the country, the company lacked buying power and economy-of-scale advantages."[32] In early January 2003 Auchan announced that both of its U.S. stores were making losses and were going to be closed; Auchan stated that it was instead going to concentrate its expansion in Asia and Europe, and on January 6, 2003, Auchan closed the two money-losing stores, ending all American operations after 15 years.[31] Auchan USA sold its first Houston location to Ho Enterprises. Lewis Food Town occupied about 110,000 square feet (10,000 m2) of the space, with the rest of the space taken by other tenants, which makes the store a bit like a mini-mall today.[28] Kaplan said that by 2003, "the Houston market is saturated with huge discounters and large grocery stores."[32] In addition, many similar stores, including an H-E-B Food and Drug Store, the Hong Kong Supermarket, a Sam's Club, and a Wal-Mart had opened in proximity to the west Houston Auchan. In Europe, zoning laws would prevent such a high concentration of similar stores. Kaplan further added that "In Europe, shopping malls are not as prevalent as they are in America, and Auchan's everything-under-one-roof concept has greater appeal" in Europe rather than in the United States.[32] The second former Auchan is now used by a local scaffolding company, and was used as a shelter for Hurricane Katrina victims in 2005 and Hurricane Ike victims in 2008 due to its large space.[34]


Building collapse at Savar

On 24 April 2013, the eight-story Rana Plaza commercial building collapsed in Savar, a sub-district near Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. At least 1,127 people died and over 2,438 were injured.[35] The factory housed a number of separate garment factories employing around 5,000 people, several shops, and a bank[36] and manufactured apparel for brands including the Benetton Group, Joe Fresh,[37] The Children's Place, Primark, Monsoon, and Dressbarn.[38][39] Of the 29 brands identified as having sourced products from the Rana Plaza factories, only 9 attended meetings held in November 2013 to agree a proposal on compensation to the victims. Several companies refused to sign including Walmart, Carrefour, Mango, Auchan and Kik. The agreement was signed by Primark, Loblaw, Bonmarché and El Corte Ingles.[40]

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

Following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine which began on February 24, many international companies pulled out of Russia. Auchan, with nearly 300 stores and 41,000 employees in Russia, has been criticized for not announcing any scaling down of its operations, unlike most of its Western competitors.[41][42]

According to documents obtained by the NGO Bellingcat, the independent Russian media The Insider and Le Monde, the retail company, owned by the Mulliez family, eighth French fortune according to Challenges, is allegedly participating in the Russian war effort.[43][44]

On 23 February 2023, the Ukrainian National Agency on Corruption Prevention added the French chain Auchan Holding to the list of international sponsors of the war.[45][46] During the invasion, the company refused to leave the Russian market, and its Russian subsidiary Auchan supplied products to the Russian occupiers fighting in Ukraine. The corporation itself denied the branch's involvement in helping the Russians, and justified its decision to stay in Russia by helping the civilian population.[47][48]

See also


  1. ^ "National Institute of Industrial Property (France)". 17 May 2023. Retrieved 27 December 2023.
  2. ^ a b c "ELO 2022 Annual Financial Report" (PDF). 17 May 2023. Retrieved 27 December 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Annual Report 2020 Auchan Holding" (PDF). Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  4. ^ "Contact Archived 30 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine." Auchan. Retrieved on 24 October 2012. "Groupe Auchan 40, avenue de Flandre – BP 139 59964 Croix Cedex – France"
  5. ^ "Auchan Holding Shareholding" (PDF). Auchan Holding. 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 July 2019. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  6. ^ Cédric Citrain, "A Cap occitan, on fête les 50 ans d'Auchan", Midi Libre" (Bézier edition),19 January 2011, p3.
  7. ^ "ООО "Ашан"". (in Russian). Retrieved 30 November 2023.
  8. ^ "French retailer Auchan does not plan to change its Russia strategy". Reuters. 25 May 2022. Retrieved 25 May 2022.
  9. ^ a b "Auchan supplied Russian military under guise of "humanitarian aid"". 17 February 2023. Retrieved 20 February 2023.
  10. ^ a b "French company Auchan supporting Russia's war effort in Ukraine, report says". POLITICO. 17 February 2023. Retrieved 20 February 2023.
  11. ^ "Auchan". NACP. Retrieved 24 August 2023.
  12. ^ La Voix éco, ed. (2011). "Auchan : Et l'histoire commence pour l'enseigne au rouge-gorge". Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2011..
  13. ^ Jean-Noël Caussil (2011). LSA (ed.). "Auchan, la cinquantaine fringante". Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  14. ^ Alexandre Debouté (2009). "Pourquoi Auchan s'appelle Auchan". Le Figaro. Archived from the original on 10 August 2009. Retrieved 6 August 2009..
  15. ^ Y. B. (2007). La Voix éco (ed.). "Auchan Roncq est le plus grand d'Europe en 1968". Archived from the original on 8 April 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2010..
  16. ^ Yannick Boucher (2007). La Voix éco (ed.). "Gérard Mulliez fête à Roncq l'invention du premier hypermarché Auchan". Archived from the original on 30 April 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2010..
  17. ^ Benoît Deseure (2009). La Voix éco (ed.). "Englos : il y a tout juste 40 ans, la révolution Auchan…". Archived from the original on 3 April 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2010..
  18. ^ "Sun Art Retail Shareholding Structure". 26 August 2017.
  19. ^ Allison Bew (26 August 2017). "Are China's Staff-less Stores a Glimpse into the Future?".
  20. ^ Moliang Jiang (15 August 2017). "New Retail in China: a Growth Engine for the Retail Industry".
  21. ^ "French hypermarket chain Auchan stepping up investment in Russia". Reuters. 13 December 2016.
  22. ^ "Russia sends food inspectors into Auchan stores". Archived from the original on 24 November 2018. Retrieved 20 May 2017.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  23. ^ "50 крупнейших иностранных компаний в России - 2016". Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  24. ^ "Ашан и Сбермаркет создадут совместный e-commerce сервис" (in Russian). Интерфакс. 10 November 2021.
  25. ^ "Ашан подключил более половины супермаркетов к доставке через Сбермаркет" (in Russian). Интерфакс. 18 January 2022.
  26. ^ "Auchan closes its hypermarkert in DragonMart". Archived from the original on 12 February 2011.
  27. ^ "Auchan leaves Italy and Vietnam". ISN Magazine. 16 May 2019. Archived from the original on 6 July 2019. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  28. ^ a b c Wollam, Allison. "Food Town to occupy portion of shuttered Auchan hypermarket." Houston Business Journal. Sunday 8 June 2003. Modified on Thursday 5 June 2003. Retrieved on 13 January 2011.
  29. ^ "NO. 97-1052." (Archived 12 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine) Supreme Court of Texas. Retrieved on 13 November 2012. "AUCHAN USA, INC., SUCCESSOR IN INTEREST TO TEXFIELD, INC., D/B/A AUCHAN HYPERMARKET, RESPONDENT"
  30. ^ "Etats-Unis." Auchan. 25 May 2002. Retrieved on 13 January 2011. "Aujourd'hui, Auchan est la seule enseigne française d'hypermarchés encore implantée aux Etats- Unis."
  31. ^ a b c "Auchan to close Houston hypermarkets." Houston Business Journal. Monday 6 January 2003. Retrieved on 13 January 2011.
  32. ^ a b c d e Kaplan, David. "Auchan closing local stores to exit U.S. market." Houston Chronicle. 7 January 2003. Retrieved on 13 November 2012.
  33. ^ Liebeck, Laura (1988). "Auchan chooses Chicago for its 2nd hypermarket". Discount Store News.
  34. ^ "Hurricane Ike evacuees moved again |". Archived from the original on 20 November 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  35. ^ Ahmed, Saeed; Lakhani, Leone (14 June 2013), "Bangladesh building collapse: An end to recovery efforts, a promise of a new start", CNN, retrieved 16 December 2013
  36. ^ Zain Al-Mahmood, Syed (24 April 2013). "Matalan supplier among manufacturers in Bangladesh building collapse". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  37. ^ O'Connor, Clare. "'Extreme Pricing' At What Cost? Retailer Joe Fresh Sends Reps To Bangladesh As Death Toll Rises". Forbes.
  38. ^ Nelson, Dean (24 April 2013). "Bangladesh building collapse kills at least 82 in Dhaka". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  39. ^ Alam, Julhas (24 April 2013). "At least 87 dead in Bangladesh building collapse". USA Today. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  40. ^ Ovi, Ibrahim Hossain (2013), Buyers' compensation for Rana Plaza victims far from reality, archived from the original on 25 March 2016, retrieved 16 December 2013
  41. ^ Pladson, Kristie. "Which companies have pulled out of Russia over the Ukraine invasion? | DW | 10.03.2022". DW.COM. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  42. ^ "Auchan, Total, Renault… L'embarras des entreprises françaises en Russie". L'Obs (in French). 8 March 2022. Retrieved 13 March 2022.
  43. ^ "Les distributions troubles d'Auchan en Russie" (in French). Le Monde. 17 February 2023.
  44. ^ "Vidéo. Video investigation: How a French company is supporting Russia's war effort in Ukraine". Le Retrieved 17 February 2023.
  45. ^ "Auchan gets on the war sponsors list in Ukraine - Ukrainian World Congress". Retrieved 24 February 2023.
  46. ^ "Ukraine's anti-graft agency declares Auchan international sponsor of Russia's war". Retrieved 24 February 2023.
  47. ^ Лілія, Король (23 February 2023). "Фінансують війну та сприяють мобілізації в рф: французьку корпорацію Auchan НАЗК внесло до переліку міжнародних спонсорів війни". НАЗК (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 24 February 2023.
  48. ^ "International sponsor of war". Retrieved 24 February 2023.

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