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Room to Grow

French cuisine soon might not be the only thing cooking in France, thanks to Asterop GeoIntelligence analytics, which provides a comprehensive picture of the retail environment there.

Asterop GeoIntelligence was developed by France-based Asterop, Inc., which specializes in business intelligence and predictive analytics. Asterop's findings demonstrate that between 63 percent to 90 percent of the local markets within France offer consumers only limited choice in any given retail category. While, for the most part, the French market is closed to many U.S. retail brands, Asterop CEO Christophe Girardier says France brings an enormous opportunity for U.S. retailers looking to expand. The French retail market is one of the largest markets in the world, worth more than $500 billion.

French consumers welcome new retail concepts, but U.S. retailers should understand that a U.S. concept must be adapted to French culture. “The concept must be credible if it hopes to succeed,” Girardier says. U.S. retailers should also attempt to introduce new concepts of retail stores which coincide with the dramatic changes in consumer trends and behaviors.

The limits imposed on the French retail climate have been driven by laws in place within Europe for more than a quarter century. There are ongoing discussions to pass a law that would stimulate competition among retailers, says Thomas Husson, a senior analyst with Jupiter Research in France.

In the context of inflation, which is around 3 percent in France, says Husson, the government would like to pass a law showing it's acting to stimulate competition and reduce prices. That's why hard-discounters like Lidl, and ALDI are gaining ground to the detriment of established players, including top retailers Leclerc, Carrefour, Intermarche and Auchan.

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