Collaborative trade a model for the future?

During a recent online press conference, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which brings together retail players organized into cooperatives or groups of independents, presented the latest developments in the sector: in 2021, it grew by 4.5%, reaching 163 billion euros in Sales volume, after growth. 2% the previous year. In 2021, 218 points of sale were opened and 7,000 jobs were created. “We went through very well‘ says Jean-Pierre Dray with relief.And President of the Association of Cooperative and Affiliate Trade (FCA).

Sector employs nearly 600,000 people

Previously, during the crisis, PGE helped, “We haven’t seen any major shutdownsIn total, the segment accounts for 30% of retail trade. It brings together 31,458 associated entrepreneurs, who mainly have between one and three points of sale, over 100 groups, 178 brands, and 50,256 points of sale. close to 600,000 people.Another advantage is that its companies are active in all sectors of retail trade: mainly food (69% of the sector’s turnover), but also culture, pharmaceuticals, entertainment, personal equipment …

For Jean-Pierre Dray, co-operative commerce proved that its model is “flexible“.”Progress cannot be neglected under the present circumstancesSo, he thinks.to twenty A year in a row, we’re seeing growth outpacing retail growth. (…) Growth is the same or higher than the market growthAlexandra Bothelier, General Delegate for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) confirms. The numbers you provided do, in fact, show a difference between the two models. For example, for hearing aid optics, the collaborative business saw 14% growth in 2021 (after -0.8% in 2020) in a market that peaked at +13%.

Another example is vehicle maintenance and repair, where the co-operative trade experienced a growth of 15% (after -7%), three points more than the market as a whole. For sports and leisure, co-op retailers outperformed the market as a whole (+18%), after declining 5% in the previous year. The perfume industry gives a slight advantage to the former (9.5% growth versus +9% overall).

The future is in small towns

Moreover, while cooperative trade is not immune to current difficulties, certain dynamics point to specific possibilities for development, according to the FCA. According to a survey it conducted in December 2021 with its leaders, the latter were very confident about the future. Nearly a quarter estimated that their sales would grow by more than 5% in 2022, and 36% by 2-5%. where, “Three areas of concern overshadow the once optimistic pictureJean-Pierre Dray adds.

Firstly, “All companies face significant recruitment difficulties, regardless of qualification level and type of activity. The problem recurred a few years ago, but it was more noticeable for several monthsSecond area of ​​interest,Delays and difficulties in supply‘ continues Jean-Pierre Dray. The last point, finally, is inflation, which is already affecting gaming (+7%), optics (+2 to 3%), or even jewelry, affected by the explosion in gold prices.

However, for the head of the FCA, recent developments show a match between the peculiarities of time and the characteristics of cooperative traders. The crisis has shownThe power of integrated networks (..). The template helps organize quickly. For example, we have developed a quick tap and group feature“, explains Jean-Pierre Dray. Moreover, the epidemic revealed how “The merchant was indispensable in the daily life of the populationHe adds, referring to the social role of these companies with their own regional location. Historically, in fact, cooperative trade was foundedEverywhere in the region, less in cities (…) This further revitalizes our points of sale‘,” Alexandra Butelier identifies.

Example: Les Mousquetaires has a point of sale every 17 kilometers in France. In recent years, food trade has also developed in Paris, because an economic model has been found. Basically, however, at a time, after the age of the hyper-large cities, another organization of the territory is formed, the fruit of new societal tendencies, “We are in the right place at the right time’” Alexandra Butelier concludes.

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