Navigation – Plan du site
2013
67

A forgotten anniversary: the first European hypermarkets open in Brussels in 1961

Un anniversaire oublié : les premiers hypermarchés européens ouvrent à Bruxelles en 1961
Een vergeten verjaardag: de eerste Europese hypermarkten openen in Brussel in 1961
Jean-Pierre Grimmeau
Traduction de Jane Corrigan
Cet article est une traduction de :
Un anniversaire oublié : les premiers hypermarchés européens ouvrent à Bruxelles en 1961 [fr]
Autre(s) traduction(s) de cet article :
Een vergeten verjaardag: de eerste Europese hypermarkten openen in Brussel in 1961 [nl]

Résumés

L’hypermarché est un magasin en libre-service de plus de 2 500 m² vendant des articles alimentaires et non-alimentaires, de localisation périphérique, de bonne accessibilité et entouré d’un grand parking. Il est généralement considéré comme une invention française de 1963 (Carrefour de Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, près de Paris, 2 500 m²). Mais GB ouvrait près de deux ans plus tôt, en 1961, trois hypermarchés sous l’enseigne SuperBazar à Bruges, Auderghem et Anderlecht, de 3 300 à 9 100 m². Par l’examen de la littérature, l’exploration des archives d’entreprise et les témoignages d’acteurs du secteur de la distribution, l’article compare minutieusement les histoires des premiers hypermarchés belges et français, ce qui n’avait jamais été fait. Si l’on écarte le site de Bruges, de seulement 3 300 m² et initialement conçu comme grand magasin, le point de vente d’Auderghem (9 100 m² boulevard du Souverain), conçu sur le modèle américain du discount department store mais associé à un supermarché alimentaire intégré, doit être considéré comme le premier hypermarché européen, l’association de l’alimentaire et du non-alimentaire, bien que rare, n’étant alors pas inexistante aux Etats-Unis. L’hypermarché est donc une invention américaine, GB a ouvert les premiers hypermarchés européens en Belgique et Carrefour a diffusé le modèle de l’hypermarché à travers le monde… et repris la plupart des hypermarchés belges en 2000.

Haut de page

Entrées d’index

Index thématique :

6. économie – emploi
Haut de page

Texte intégral

Introduction

  • 1 Call for papers of the Etienne Thil International Conference, 2013

1Hypermarkets are usually considered to be a French invention [for example Chatriot and Chessel, 2006, Daumas, 2006, Colla, 2001, p. 106, Dancette and Réthoré, 2000, p. 110, Cliquet, 2000, p. 184, Metton, 1995, p. 63]. Lhermie [2003] in “Carrefour ou l’invention de l’hypermarché” also presents hypermarkets as a French invention and the first hypermarket as being in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, which opened on 15 June 1963 near Paris, with 2 500 m² of sales area and 450 parking spaces. It will soon celebrate its 50th anniversary. The 16th Etienne Thil International Conference (2‑4 October 2013) will take place in Paris “in honour of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the first hypermarket”.1 The first French hypermarket with a surface area close to 10 000 m² is the Vénissieux Carrefour, which opened in 1966.

2However, in 1961, almost two years before Carrefour, GB opened the first European hypermarkets called SuperBazar in Bruges (Scheepsdaelelaan, 3 300 m² of sales area, 9 September, figure 1), Auderghem (Boulevard du Souverain, 9 100 m², 15 September) and in Anderlecht (Avenue Marius Renard, 7 950 m², 14 October, figure 2), the latter two being located in the Brussels-Capital Region. The 50th anniversary would therefore have been celebrated in 2011. The Bruges and Anderlecht locations were later reorganised as supermarkets. The Auderghem hypermarket – which is now a Carrefour – is therefore the only survivor among these three pioneers. It is still an excellent location, with the best turnover per m² of the current Carrefour hypermarkets in Belgium.

3When GB and Carrefour opened their first shops, the term hypermarket did not exist yet. It was invented in 1968 by J. Pictet, founder of Libre-Service Actualité (LSA), the main francophone trade magazine on the subject, and the Institut français du libre service. The four abovementioned shops were characterised by a large surface area (over 2 500 m²) which was unheard of in Europe at the time, self-service, the combination of food and non food products and large car parks. These are the elements which define hypermarkets today.

  • 2 The author would like to thank the ULB archives department, where GIB archives are deposited, which (...)

4This article compares the history of the first French and Belgian hypermarkets for the first time.2

1. Belgian precedence

  • 3 But this was not the case in the Wikipedia “hypermarket” entry on 10/9/2009, which simply cited Sai (...)

5There is, however, no doubt about Belgian precedence. Apart from the fact that it received newspaper coverage at the time (Le Soir, LSA, Le Commerce moderne, etc.), the adventure has been told by those who participated [Cauwe, nd, pp. 242‑248, Dopchie, 2004, pp. 50‑60] and by a later director [Baisier, 1971], and was also confirmed by independent researchers [Burstin, 1975, pp. 103‑133, Jaumain, 1996 and 1999, Michel and vander Eycken, 1974, p. 180, Coupain, 2005, p. 147] and by reference websites [“hypermarket” entry on Wikipedia, 20133, Pederson, 1999]. The Carrefour website mentions the information correctly in its history section.

6The creation of hypermarkets in Belgium was the work of Maurice Cauwe (1905‑1985). This Solvay market development engineer (1926) began his career at Innovation, leaving in 1932 to work for the department store which became Le Grand Bazar d’Anvers, for which he took on the role of director in 1941. He ended his career as president of the group GB-Inno-BM (GIB) formed in 1974.

7Fascinated by the United States, he started by reading everything he could find on commerce there, and then went there for the first time in 1948. The programme for the first trip was already established with the help of the National Cash Register Company (NCR) in Dayton [Cauwe, sd, p. 49], a company which produced cash registers and which played an essential role afterwards.

“This study trip of over a month was a revelation for me – a discovery. It provided me with an extraordinary wealth of ideas and facts. It allowed me to learn techniques, methods and new ways of thinking. It filled me with enthusiasm for the United States and Americans” [id. pp. 54‑55].

  • 4 Often cited but in slightly different forms, probably related to translation, note-taking or quotin (...)

He became especially aware of the population’s increasing use of cars, the “desertification” of city centres and the development of commerce on the outskirts of towns, in particular in the form of supermarkets. He went to the United States 33 times between 1948 and 1981 [Cauwe, 1981]. Each time, he wrote reports and made suggestions or directives. It was during his fourth trip in 1956 that he met Bernard Trujillo (1920‑1971) from the NCR for the first time, who organised the Modern Merchandising Methods (MMM) seminars as of the following year, where modern sales methods rather than cash registers were the focus [e.a. Rivière, 1961, Thil, 1966, pp. 123‑134]. This is when he heard of shopping centres and discount department stores for the first time. Trujillo, a defender of modern business, was a great teacher. A series of amazing formulas were invented by him, such as4: No parking, no business; Islands of loss, oceans of profit; Pile products up and sell down; Let the client do the work; Have a permanent circus; etc. Cauwe participated in the seminar for the first time in 1957.

“It was the beginning of seminars launched by the NCR delegate. There were 15 participants from France, Brazil, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. Later, there were more than 100 participants at each seminar” [Cauwe, sd, p. 178].

  • 5 He therefore observed that the processes which existed in the United States also developed in Belgi (...)

8Since 1937, the development of big shops was hindered in Belgium by a law for the protection of small shops. It was abolished in January 1961 and replaced in 1975 by a new “padlock law”. Most of the expansion of big business in Belgium took place in this window between 1961 and 1975 [Leunis & François, 1988, François & Leunis, 1991]; for example, the number of hypermarkets went from 0 at the beginning of 1961 to 70 in 1975 and reached its maximum of 92 in 1990 [Coupain, 2005, p. 132], i.e. 5 more per year on average during the first period, compared with only 1.5 during the second. In the years leading up to 1961, the abolishment of the law of 1937 was being considered more seriously. Cauwe wanted to be prepared. In 19595, 12 sites were reserved in locations on the outskirts. Cauwe hesitated between the shopping centre formula and that of the “self-service discount department store”. The decision was taken in 1960:

“it is not about creating big shopping centres, but rather about building the biggest possible shop. Consequently, it does not require a two-year waiting and study period, but six months at the most in order to be completed in 15 to 18 months” [Cauwe, sd, p. 226].

The two shops in Auderghem and Anderlecht were later built at the same time within six months [Cauwe, 1961].

“For the choice of furniture, we were not concerned with beauty and quality, and designed furniture in simple softwood which could be made in the company’s workshop at ridiculously low prices” [Baisier, 1971, p. 33] (figures 5 to 7).

  • 6 GB hypermarkets were therefore the result of department stores in Belgium, the grocery sector and s (...)

9In 1960, Le Grand Bazar d’Anvers – with the Jewel Tea Company of Chicago, which ran supermarkets – created SA Supermarché GB. In 1961, it created SA SuperBazar, with the added participation of Bon Marché (Brussels) and Le Grand Bazar de Liège.6 The two entities merged and became GB Enterprises in 1969.

10The shop in Bruges, which opened on 9 September 1961, two years after the first GB supermarkets, was intended to be a Grand Bazar, in line with the department store concept. The concept became a SuperBazar while the project was under way. The sales area (3 300 m²) was spread out over two floors and the building was not adapted to the concept of hypermarket. There were only 166 parking spaces (figure 1).

Figure 1. The first SuperBazar, on the outskirts of Bruges

Figure 1. The first SuperBazar, on the outskirts of Bruges

This building with a 3 300 m² sales area, was designed as a department store (Grand Bazar) on two floors. The number of parking spaces is limited (166). While the project was under way, it was converted into a hypermarket (SuperBazar) and later reconverted into a supermarket.

GIB archives, deposited at the Université libre de Bruxelles archives.

  • 7 Cauwe (sd, p. 243) is the only one to speak of 900.

11The following week (inauguration on 15 September 1961, open to the public on 16 September), the shop in Auderghem was inaugurated, with a sales area measuring 9 100 m² and 800 parking spaces7 (the biggest car park in Europe at the time [Baisier, 1971, p. 33]) and a resolutely American-style model. The complex combined the SuperBazar (non food self-service) and a GB supermarket (self-service food) in the same location, with one entrance and a shared checkout. The separate accounting for the two companies was done using different keys on the cash register. Under the same roof and sharing the same facade were a bank, a pharmacy, a Trois Suisses shop, a drycleaner and a florist [Burstin, 1975, p. 123] (figure 2).

Figure 2. The Anderlecht SuperBazar on the day it opened to the public

Figure 2. The Anderlecht SuperBazar on the day it opened to the public

The GB Supermarket sign and the small complementary businesses can be seen on the facade. Note as well the queue of clients waiting to get into the shop. The Auderghem SuperBazar was very similar and slightly bigger.

GIB archives, deposited at the Université libre de Bruxelles archives.

12LSA announced:

“Something new, original and grand has arrived (…) on the outskirts of Brussels: the first ‘DISCOUNT DEPARTMENT STORE’ (self-service discount department store) was inaugurated on Saturday 16 September 1961. At 5 km from the mediaeval Grand’Place, forward-looking men (…) have thus set up a distribution complex as never before seen on our continent. (…) Without a doubt, the era of the self-service discount department store has begun in Europe. (…) Without a doubt, our hexagon will soon have self-service discount department stores. (…) Isn’t it best to see what is happening in Brussels in order to accomplish this?”

The author was none other than J. Pictet, who, seven years later, coined the word “hypermarket”. In Le commerce moderne, it was written:

“After many others, I have returned from Brussels, the first European temple of this new religion whose Mecca is in Dayton (USA). The first impression when one arrives on Boulevard du Souverain is that of a ‘déjà vu’: the same dimensions, same type of construction, same spectacular effect of the flamboyant sign on the immense car park. The inside does not belie this impression. The Auderghem SuperBazar inevitably reminds me of one of the big discount stores which flourish in Ohio. It is a faithful as well as – if I may say so – servile reproduction. (…) Conclusions: it is likely that a discount department store of the Belgian type will be set up in France and probably in Paris someday soon” [Oubradous, 1962].

13At the time of these inaugurations, GB did not consider that they were inventing a new type of shop, but simply that for the first time they were importing into Europe a type of business which was widespread in the United States, namely the “self-service discount department store”.

14Scarcely one month later, the third shop was inaugurated in Anderlecht (figures 2 to 4). Ten years later, at the end of 1971, the 29th SuperBazar was inaugurated and other companies opened hypermarkets in Belgium. Among these, Carrefour opened three hypermarkets in Belgium in 1969 in collaboration with Delhaize-le-Lion; they were sold ten years later to Louis Delhaize who operated them under the name of Cora.

Figure 3. The Anderlecht SuperBazar on the day it opened to the public

Figure 3. The Anderlecht SuperBazar on the day it opened to the public

Queue and entertainment.

GIB archives, deposited at the Université libre de Bruxelles archives.

Figure 4. Crowd in the Anderlecht hypermarket on the day of its inauguration

Figure 4. Crowd in the Anderlecht hypermarket on the day of its inauguration

GIB archives, deposited at the Université libre de Bruxelles archives.

Figure 5. Stockings shelves and washing machines/refrigerators at the Anderlecht hypermarket in 1961

Figure 5. Stockings shelves and washing machines/refrigerators at the Anderlecht hypermarket in 1961

Note the minimalist furniture in softwood containing the stockings.

GIB archives, deposited at the Université libre de Bruxelles archives.

2. Comparison of Belgian and French inventions

15The first French hypermarkets were also inspired by the United States and in particular by Trujillo. The first journeys to the United States by the founders of Carrefour were in 1950 for Marcel Fournier and in 1957 for Denis Defforey [Lhermie, 2003, p. 16]. During a public meeting held on 10 December 1959 by Edouard Leclerc, the initiator of discount supermarkets in France, Fournier said to him:

“What you have done can be done better… by adding non food, general items and textile, which you are not close to being able to do” [Sordet, 1997, cited by Lhermie, 2003, p. 16].

The first Carrefour supermarket was being built at the time. Although he participated in Dayton’s seminars, “it would appear that Marcel Fournier was not a very regular student” [id. p. 24]. The Defforey brothers participated in Dayton’s seminar in 1962, on Fournier’s insistence. Before this journey, the Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois project involved a 1 500 m² shop; the plans were later revised [id. p. 25]. It was the supermarket model which inspired Fournier and the idea was to introduce non food items. In this respect as well, there was not the impression that a new type of business was being invented. Advertising involved announcing the arrival of a giant supermarket [id. p. 28] and this expression was used by the press [id. p. 27]. On the other hand, the surface area of Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois – 2 500 m² – corresponded to the current limit between supermarkets and hypermarkets, and in Belgium there are currently self-service shops offering the same products as a supermarket, with a surface area of up to 3 500 m² (sometimes referred to as megasupermarkets [Dancette and Réthoré, 2000, p. 111]).

16Lhermie made no reference to Belgian precedence. However, how can it be that the directors of Carrefour were not aware of the SuperBazars of 1961? It received wide coverage by the general and specialised press. According to Dopchie [2004, p. 65]: “Carrefour, whose directors are welcome in SuperBazar, watches with keen interest.” Other GB executives at the time confirmed this. On reading all of this documentation, the impression is that of extraordinary emulation: all of the directors of big companies knew each other, met each other and exchanged their ideas and information about their realisations willingly. However, LSA, which had a short-term memory, wrote, “On 15 June 1963, Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois entered history as the location of the first American-style big shop” [cited by Lhermie, 2004, p. 21]. And the April 1993 issue of LSA featured “Carrefour, the 30th anniversary of the hypermarket”.

Figure 6. The kitchenware section in the Auderghem hypermarket in 1961

Figure 6. The kitchenware section in the Auderghem hypermarket in 1961

GIB archives, deposited at the Université libre de Bruxelles archives.

Figure 7. The bucket section in the Auderghem hypermarket in 1961

Figure 7. The bucket section in the Auderghem hypermarket in 1961

Notice the shelves made of softwood

GIB archives, deposited at the Université libre de Bruxelles archives.

  • 8 The fourth in Herstal in 1962.

17In conclusion, the journeys to the US and the contacts with Trujillo took place earlier for Cauwe than for the directors of Carrefour. Twelve sites were reserved by GB before Carrefour had an option on Sainte-Geneviève. And the Sainte-Geneviève project increased to 2 500 m² only in 1962, whereas GB had already opened four sites8 measuring between 3 300 m² and 9 100 m². Neither GB nor Carrefour had the impression that they were creating a new type of business. GB was inspired by discount department stores and Carrefour by supermarkets. Carrefour now [2013] considers the three SuperBazars from 1961 as the first hypermarkets and no longer includes Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois on its timeline.

3. The first European or international hypermarkets?

  • 9 Whereas here they included beauty/health, cleaning and stationery products.

18Some authors consider hypermarkets to be a European invention [e.a. Cliquet, 2000, Dancette and Réthoré, 2000, Mérenne-Schoumaker, 1978, p. 122, Langeard and Peterson, 1975, p. 56], which is paradoxical considering the claimed American inspiration. The association of food and non food products in the same place justifies this conception. According to Lhermie [2004, p. 26], “American consumers are not at all used to seeing food and non food products in the same shop. They probably would have found it out of place and even shocking (just like the French when they discovered pharmaceutical products in drugstores in North America which are not always well kept!). Furthermore, all of the existing supermarkets only sell food products.9 In addition, the systems for encoding food products and non food products used in North America are different, and it is not possible to encode the two types of product using the same cash register.” While Trujillo defended the notion of having “everything under the same roof”, he had reservations regarding the idea of combining these two categories. This reluctance was such that Jewel Tea – the American participant to the capital of SuperBazar – convinced GB to open a hypermarket (Schoten, 1966) where food and non food products were separated by an aisle and had separate cash registers. The experiment was abandoned, given the poorer results.

19Cauwe [s.d., p. 203] nevertheless testified to the existence of this combination in the United States:

“I have taken advantage of my journey [in January 1959] to visit the GRANDWAY CENTERS which are an interesting realisation by the supermarket chain GRAND UNION. They have sometimes been called the SUPER SUPERMARKETS. They are one of the first experiments involving a supermarket chain offering aisles with non food products, often referred to as ‘aisle 5’. It is a true department: textile, household items, toys, radio, television and ‘soda fountain’. The shop is in Paramus (New-Jersey). Next to the 2 000 m² supermarket, the non food section occupies the same surface area and there is one row of 25 checkouts for the entire shop”.

The American company Wal-Mart adopted the formula only in 1985 [Daumas, 2006, p. 62].

20Let us therefore conclude that hypermarkets are an American invention, even if they are not common there, and that GB created the first European hypermarkets.

4. Why has Belgian precedence been forgotten?

  • 10 Centre International pour la Ville, l’Architecture et le Paysage.

21In 2007, the 50th anniversary of the first autonomous Belgian supermarket – the Delhaize at Place Flagey – was marked by an exhibit held at La Cambre school of architecture, organised by the CIVA.10 Nothing similar happened for the hypermarket, which was however the first concept involving the outskirts of the city, surrounded from the very beginning by a large car park, and located in places which were easily accessible by car, usually close to where a radial road met a ring road. From the start, supermarkets were included in the urban fabric between other buildings, with car parks being added later. The 50th anniversary of the hypermarket, which was not celebrated, is however much more important than the former, in as much as it involved the first European hypermarket rather than the first Belgian supermarket, whereas the concept of supermarket had existed in the United States since the 1930s and in Italy for a few months [Chatriot and Chessel, 2006, p. 76]. So why was the 50th anniversary of the first hypermarket not celebrated and why was Belgian precedence forgotten?

  • 11 The fact that this site was being transformed into a Carrefour Planet may appear to be an additiona (...)

22The main reason why the 2011 anniversary was not celebrated was that at the time the GIB group no longer existed: it had been dismantled (between 1989 and 2002) and its hypermarkets had been purchased by Carrefour (2000), which therefore would not have celebrated the 50th anniversary of a shop it had not founded, two years before the first one it had founded.11 On the other hand, GB had never had the same historical attitude as Delhaize, which had existed as “Grocers since 1867” [Collet, E., 2003]. This company had organised a first exhibit for its 125th anniversary and published a book for its 135th anniversary [id.], and had hired a historian, Emmanuel Collet, to manage archives and these different events, including the exhibit regarding the 50th anniversary of the supermarket.

23Why was Belgian precedence forgotten? Once again, there are two reasons. The first is that Carrefour had built its image on the concept of the inventor of hypermarkets in France, which came to be referred to as French-style hypermarkets and then just as hypermarkets. The works of Cauwe and Dopchie on the history of GB have never mentioned the invention of the hypermarket in their title. The second is that Carrefour had opened hypermarkets everywhere, to the extent that the name Carrefour has become the symbol of the hypermarket.

Conclusions

24Hypermarkets are generally considered to be a French invention by Carrefour in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois in 1963 with a sales area of 2 500 m². However, in 1961, GB opened three SuperBazar hypermarkets in Bruges, Auderghem and Anderlecht measuring between 3 300 m² and 9 100 m². GB’s precedence over Carrefour exists as regards journeys to the United States, contacts with Trujillo, the purchase of sites and the project associating food and non food products over more than 2 500 m² as well as its realisation. The term hypermarket was coined only in 1968, yet the four abovementioned shops fit the definition. If we set aside the site in Bruges measuring 3 300 m² which was initially designed to be a department store, the shop in Auderghem – which was based on the American model of the discount department store but associated with an integrated supermarket, must be considered as the first European hypermarket. Even if the association of food and non food products under the same roof was unusual in the United States, it nevertheless existed. Hypermarkets are therefore an American invention, GB opened the first European hypermarkets and Carrefour spread the model of the hypermarket throughout the world.

Haut de page

Bibliographie

BAISIER, J., 1971. Super Bazar ou les premiers hypermarchés européens In: Distribution d’aujourd’hui, 10, pp. 30‑37.

BURSTIN, F.E., 1975. Maurice Cauwe, une révolution dans la distribution. Brussels: Editions Labor.

BURSTIN, F.E., 1999. Cauwe, Maurice. In: Nouvelle Biographie Nationale, Tome 5, pp. 47‑49.

CAUWE, M., 1961. Allocution de Monsieur M. Cauwe, Administrateur-Délégué des Sociétés SUPERBAZARS et SUPERMARCHES G.B. lors de l’inauguration de nouveau shopping-center SUPERBAZARS, avenue Marius Renard à Anderlecht, le vendredi 13‑10‑61. GIB Archives.

CAUWE, M., 1981. Appel en faveur de Bernard Trujillo. In: Informations MMM, June, pp. 2‑3.

CAUWE, M., sd. La rage de grandir ou Historique et chronique d’un petit Bazar à la grande entreprise aux multiples enseignes, Vol. 2, roneoed. GIB Archives.

CHATRIOT, A. and CHESSEL, M.-E., 2006. L’histoire de la distribution : un chantier inachevé. In: Histoire, économie et société, 1, pp. 67‑82.

CLIQUET, G., 2000. Large format retailers: a French tradition despite reactions. In: Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 7, pp. 183‑195.

COLLA, E., 2001. 2nd ed. La grande distribution européenne. Paris: Vuibert.

COLLET, E., 2003. Delhaize “Le Lion” Epiciers depuis 1867. Brussels: Racine.

COUPAIN, N., 2005. La distribution en Belgique. Trente ans de mutations. Brussels: Racine.

DANCETTE, J. and RETHORE, C., 2000. Dictionnaire analytique de la distribution. Montreal: Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal.

DAUMAS, J.-C., 2006. Consommation de masse et grande distribution. Une révolution permanente (1957‑2005). In: Vingtième siècle. Revue d’histoire, 91, pp. 57‑76.

DOPCHIE, J., 2004. GB La rage de grandir. Brussels: Editions Racine.

FRANÇOIS, P. and LEUNIS, J., 1991. Public policy and the establishment of large stores in Belgium. In: The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, pp. 469‑486.

HUBERT, M., L’Expo 58 et la mobilité quotidienne à Bruxelles : une influence décisive et durable ? In: DELIGNE, C. and JAUMAIN, S. (ed.) L’Expo 58. Un tournant dans l’histoire de Bruxelles, Brussels, Le Cri, pp. 115‑143.

JAUMAIN, S., 1996. Cauwe Maurice. In: KURGAN-VAN HENTERYK, G. (ed.) Dictionnaire des patrons en Belgique. Brussels: De Boeck-Wesmael, pp. 98‑100.

JAUMAIN, S., 1999. Cauwe Maurice. In: KURGAN, G. & BUYST, E. (ed.) 100 grands patrons du XXe siècle en Belgique. Brussels: A. Renier, pp. 42‑43 and 238‑239.

LANGEARD, E. and PETERSON, R.A., 1975. Diffusion of Large-Scale Food Retailing in France: Supermarché et Hypermarché. In: Journal of Retailing, pp. 43‑63.

LEUNIS, J.V. and FRANÇOIS, P., 1988. The impact of Belgian Public Policy upon Retailing: the case of the second Padlock Law. In KAYNAK, E. (ed.) Transnational Retailing. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, pp. 135‑153.

LHERMIE, C., 2003. 2nd ed. Carrefour ou l’invention de l’hypermarché. Paris: Vuibert.

MERENNE-SCHOUMAKER, B., 1978. L’évolution de la distribution périphérique en Europe depuis 1960. In: Bulletin de la Société belge d’études géographiques, pp. 117‑137.

METTON, A., 1995. Retail planning policy in France. In: DAVIES, R.L. (ed.) Retail Planning Policies in Western Europe. London: Routledge, pp. 62‑77.

MICHEL, M. and VANDER EYCKEN, H, 1974. La distribution en Belgique, Gembloux: Duculot.

Oubradous, J.G., 1962. Reparlons du Superbazar d’Auderghem. In: Le Commerce Moderne, February.

PEDERSON, J.P., 1999. GIB. In: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 26, Sint James Press, pp. 158‑162. http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/gib-group-history/ (consulted on: 10 April 2013)

PICTET, J., 1961. Pleins feux sur Bruxelles : on y brûle les étapes. In: Libre Service Actualité, 9 October.

RIVIERE, C., 1961. L’oracle de la distribution américaine vous parle. In: Entreprise, 287.

SORDET, C., 1997. Les grandes voix du commerce. Paris: Editions Liaisons.

THIL, E., 1966. Les inventeurs du commerce moderne. Paris: Arthaud.

Online sources

Carrefour, 2013. Histoire. http://corporate.carrefour.eu/History.cfm?lang=FR (consulted on: 10 April 2013)

Colloque International Etienne Thil, 2013. Call for papers. http://thil2013.sciencesconf.org/conference/thil2013/pages/Thil_2013_precisions.pdf (consulted on: 10 April 2013)

Wikipedia, 2013. Hypermarché. http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypermarch%C3%A9 (consulted on: 10 April 2013)

Wikipedia, 2013. Carrefour (brand) http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrefour_%28enseigne%29 (consulted on: 10 April 2013)

Illustrations

Despite all of the efforts made, the author of this article was not able to establish the origin of certain photographs. Those who are legally entitled to these photographs may contact the Brussels Studies editorial team.

Haut de page

Notes

1 Call for papers of the Etienne Thil International Conference, 2013

2 The author would like to thank the ULB archives department, where GIB archives are deposited, which made this research possible, as well as the people interviewed: Jacques Dopchie (who began working with the Grand Bazar d’Anvers in 1953, became Sales Director for GB Supermarkets in 1959 and General Director of GB Enterprises in 1969; he ended his career as Vice President and Managing Director of GIB); Pierre Iserbyt (among others: Carrefour France Store Manager 1970‑72, Sarma Real Estate Manager 1972‑1990, GIB Real Estate Director and then GIB Immo CEO 1996‑2001); and Pierre Massin (Real Estate Administrator at Redevco, which manages the real estate stock of the former GBs).

3 But this was not the case in the Wikipedia “hypermarket” entry on 10/9/2009, which simply cited Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois as the first French hypermarket. The “Carrefour (brand)” entry on Wikipedia still stated in 2013 that Carrefour invented the concept of hypermarket.

4 Often cited but in slightly different forms, probably related to translation, note-taking or quoting from memory.

5 He therefore observed that the processes which existed in the United States also developed in Belgium as well: in 1956, the Brussels-Ostend motorway was inaugurated; it was part of an organised plan of motorways integrated at European level, which made known the brochure “Bruxelles, carrefour de loccident” published in 1956 by the Fonds des routes of the Ministry of Public Works; Expo 58 was also the motivating factor for a whole series of investment works intended to favour traffic in Brussels [Hubert, 2009]. Detached houses, which had been reserved for the happy few before WWII, multiplied in the 1950s. The same was true for cars.

6 GB hypermarkets were therefore the result of department stores in Belgium, the grocery sector and supermarkets in France.

7 Cauwe (sd, p. 243) is the only one to speak of 900.

8 The fourth in Herstal in 1962.

9 Whereas here they included beauty/health, cleaning and stationery products.

10 Centre International pour la Ville, l’Architecture et le Paysage.

11 The fact that this site was being transformed into a Carrefour Planet may appear to be an additional reason for not celebrating the anniversary. Nevertheless, if there had been a will, the works would either have been completed by the date in question or postponed.

Haut de page

Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1. The first SuperBazar, on the outskirts of Bruges
Légende This building with a 3 300 m² sales area, was designed as a department store (Grand Bazar) on two floors. The number of parking spaces is limited (166). While the project was under way, it was converted into a hypermarket (SuperBazar) and later reconverted into a supermarket.
Crédits GIB archives, deposited at the Université libre de Bruxelles archives.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/docannexe/image/1162/img-1.png
Fichier image/png, 506k
Titre Figure 2. The Anderlecht SuperBazar on the day it opened to the public
Légende The GB Supermarket sign and the small complementary businesses can be seen on the facade. Note as well the queue of clients waiting to get into the shop. The Auderghem SuperBazar was very similar and slightly bigger.
Crédits GIB archives, deposited at the Université libre de Bruxelles archives.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/docannexe/image/1162/img-2.png
Fichier image/png, 728k
Titre Figure 3. The Anderlecht SuperBazar on the day it opened to the public
Légende Queue and entertainment.
Crédits GIB archives, deposited at the Université libre de Bruxelles archives.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/docannexe/image/1162/img-3.png
Fichier image/png, 697k
Titre Figure 4. Crowd in the Anderlecht hypermarket on the day of its inauguration
Crédits GIB archives, deposited at the Université libre de Bruxelles archives.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/docannexe/image/1162/img-4.png
Fichier image/png, 656k
Titre Figure 5. Stockings shelves and washing machines/refrigerators at the Anderlecht hypermarket in 1961
Légende Note the minimalist furniture in softwood containing the stockings.
Crédits GIB archives, deposited at the Université libre de Bruxelles archives.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/docannexe/image/1162/img-5.png
Fichier image/png, 601k
Titre Figure 6. The kitchenware section in the Auderghem hypermarket in 1961
Crédits GIB archives, deposited at the Université libre de Bruxelles archives.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/docannexe/image/1162/img-6.png
Fichier image/png, 747k
Titre Figure 7. The bucket section in the Auderghem hypermarket in 1961
Légende Notice the shelves made of softwood
URL http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/docannexe/image/1162/img-7.png
Fichier image/png, 716k
Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence électronique

Jean-Pierre Grimmeau, « A forgotten anniversary: the first European hypermarkets open in Brussels in 1961 », Brussels Studies [En ligne], Collection générale, n° 67, mis en ligne le 10 juin 2013, consulté le 25 août 2019. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/1162 ; DOI : 10.4000/brussels.1162

Haut de page

Auteur

Jean-Pierre Grimmeau

Jean-Pierre Grimmeau is a geographer and professor emeritus at Université libre de Bruxelles (IGEAT). Specialised in population geography and in the localisation of retail trade, he has conducted many geomarketing studies, in particular for shopping centres and public authorities. He published the collaborative work Half a century of changes in retail in Brussels (2007, AATL, The retail observatory) and Une macro-géographie du commerce de détail en Belgique (2011, Echogeo).

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur

Licence Creative Commons Licence CC BY

Haut de page
  • Logo BSI
  • Logo Innoviris
  • Logo Région Bruxelles-Capitale
  • Logo DOAJ - Directory of Open Access Journals
  • OpenEdition Journals