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As our clients, retailers should be the focus of our attention, especially as they provide the means through which we access the end consumer. We want to establish a lasting partnership with them, which will benefit both parties. In the current context of a significant slowdown in consumption, it is vital that we strengthen this relationship by showing responsiveness and a capacity to innovate.

The changing face of distribution

Influenced by new consumer trends, the state of distribution has profoundly changed over the past 10 years. For the consumer, choosing a point of sale depends on certain criteria such as price, choice/advice and proximity. These are the factors for differentiating between and positioning the various formats. Taking these transformations into account, the Group’s objective is to cover all the different channels. To do this, it has certain top-rate advantages – the complementary nature of its brands and a very widespread offer which enables it to target certain networks with specific ranges.

The distribution of our sales by channel is a reflection of these major developments: Decline of traditional networks, mass retail and large stores giving way to specialists and alternative distribution networks (e-commerce, manufacturing brands etc.). The internet is playing an increasingly important role in our sales, in particular through “pure players” (specialist e-commerce websites such as Amazon) and new forms of on-line sales sites such as “click and mortar” (websites for brands that also have shops, such as Darty).

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Creating value for our customers

The globalisation of business and the emergence of new formats are key issues for major retailers. We can help retailers by bringing our expertise to a shared strategic vision: the management of key international accounts to develop ranges that are common to several countries or specific campaigns; the development of products adapted to local consumer habits and an offer adapted to certain channels; and training sales staff in product performance. In a difficult economic context, our customers also have expectations when it comes to supporting their growth, especially to increase the number of customers at the point of sale as well as the average value of their basket (of purchases). The Group responds to these expectations by creating added value through product innovation and understanding its markets, consumers and purchasing behaviour. It also contributes towards promotional campaigns such as loyalty programme. This means that it has to demonstrate a great deal of responsiveness and an ability to carry out events at the point of sale (promoting the product “plus” points, clear signs, quality packaging which is informative etc.).

The benefits of category management

The act of purchase is considered carefully and for a long time by the consumer because of the difficulty in distinguishing between the various product functions and identifying new features within a given category. This often leads to the purchaser giving priority to price. In this context, signs on the shelves, layout and clear labelling are important sales aids, as is illustrated by the example of the pressure cooker category in hypermarkets carried out by the Group. Advertising at the point of sale is another aspect of category management.  This involves capturing attention, demonstrating and seducing by dramatising products (displays, banners, videos and demonstrations). Cooperation with the client retailer can lead to the Group becoming category captain, with the role of helping customers with a view to optimising the economic performance of the shelf space (sales and profitability) for a product category (all brands combined), by developing the range, presenting the shelf and specific promotional campaigns.

 Category Captain at Casino in France for small electrical appliances categories and at Walmart in the United States for cookware with the T-fal, WearEver and Imusa brands.

 The Group’s own stores

Whether they are called Home & Cook, Tefal shops in Turkey or Supor Lifestores in China, the Group had 1,506 exclusive stores (including 1,063 Lifestores) at the end of 2012. These are an addition and an alternative to local distribution networks when these are less well organised or when there is a potential that has not yet been exploited in certain markets. This network contributes towards increasing Group sales, and currently represents a share of a little over 5% with great success in some countries, in particular Japan and Brazil. The experiment, which was launched in 2007, has turned out to be very valuable as an advanced indicator for the study of purchasing behaviour at the point of sale and for testing new products. In addition, Home & Cook leads the way for e-commerce with websites already up and running in Great Britain and South Korea and is launching a new “click and collect” trial (order by internet and delivery to the home or store) in countries in which we have a large number of stores, such as Turkey.

Every year, 30 million people enter our shops and 3 million make a purchase in them.