Aladdin’s cave has nothing on Maxi Bazar if your idea of treasure is branded toiletries and household articles at signifi cantly lower prices than usual and a wide range of decorative items for the home. The successful chain of town-center stores has a strong presence in the French and Swiss markets in a hugely competitive sector. Its success is based on a continuously changing range of competitively priced, attractive products sold in easily accessible city-center locations. With more than 20,000 individual product lines available in the larger stores, they are the kind of shop where customers like to stop by regularly and browse.

Maxi Bazar ensures a high rate of footfall in its stores by offering a constantly changing product range. Besides perennial favourites, the store has weekly promotions which are often tailored to suit the season or particular events in the calendar. Customers coming in to buy household consumables at a much lower price than in the supermarket will often find something else of use. “We appeal a lot to impulse buyers,” says Managing Director Stéphane Pellegrin. “Our best-selling product category is kitchen accessories, and our typical customer is female.” Knowing that women typically are responsible for the majority of household shopping, it is not surprising that Maxi Bazar’s sales concept is strongly skewed towards this target audience. Tableware, vases, picture frames, candles, lamps, decorative items, stationery, toiletries, cosmetics, cleaning products, hobby items, party accessories and gift articles all jostle for attention and make it possible to satisfy a wide range of needs in one place. The Maxi Bazar chain consists of 50 shops located in France (23) and Switzerland (27). They range in floor space from 600 m2 to 3,000 m2 depending on the size of the town in which they are located. The origins of the chain go back to 1977 when the current Managing Director’s father founded Ouest Harmonie as a chemist and general retailer near Paris. It was Stéphane Pellegrin who developed the Maxi Bazar concept, opening the first store in Antibes and following it with openings across southeastern France. In 2008, the concept was successfully exported to the French-speaking part of Switzerland, where Maxi Bazar outlets now outnumber those in France. The stores are part of a wider trend towards what can be called lifestyle shopping concepts, in which low prices and attractive product ranges bring in shoppers of all ages and socioeconomic groups. “Our low prices are a key part of the successful concept, but that is not everything in our business,” insists Mr. Pellegrin. “We also offer excellent service, and our staff are always on hand to advise customers about our products.”

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