In a display of great daring, France’s Monoprix has managed to combine utilitarian chic with the highest prices in the market. This gamble has proved surprisingly popular – with the chain still going strong after more than 80 years.
There may have been a time when its stores would have been considered more stylish than they are today. If we transported them to Bratislava circa 1965 perhaps…?
The first Monoprix opened in 1932 in Rouen. Now the chain has shops in almost every large town in France. Over time, it was able to swallow its competition, buying first Uniprix, then Prisunic.
“A survey earlier this year found a 40% difference in price between the chain and its hypermarket rivals”
The secret of its success appears to be its city centre location. However, this also worked against it. Increasingly, the chain struggled to compete against the discount prices offered by out-of-town supermarkets.
It reacted by going online, offering home delivery in and around 11 large French cities. It also went upmarket. The result is that Monoprix is now the most expensive supermarket chain in the country.
A survey in March this year ranked it dearer even than the convenience versions of some of the big chains, such as U Express and Carrefour Market. In fact, there was a 40% difference in price between the chain and its hypermarket rivals.
The reason for its continued success is simply that it offers quality goods on the high street. As we have heard many times before, it all comes down to location, location, location.