In commerce, a hypermarket is a superstore combining a supermarket and a department store. The result is an expansive retail facility carrying a wide range of products under one roof, including full groceries lines and general merchandise. In theory, hypermarkets allow customers to satisfy all their routine shopping needs in one trip.
Hypermarkets, like other big-box stores, typically have business models focusing on high-volume, low-margin sales. A typical Wal-Mart Supercenter covers anywhere from 150,000 square feet (14,000 m2) to 235,000 square feet (21,800 m2) and a typical Carrefour covers 20,000 m² (210,000 square feet). They generally have more than 200,000 different brands of merchandise available at any one time. Because of their large footprints, many hypermarkets choose suburban or out-of-town locations that are easily accessible by automobile.
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Fred Meyer, founded in 1922, opened the first suburban one-stop shopping center in 1931 in the Hollywood District of Portland, Oregon, that would become the first of the hypermarket format that the company still operates today. The store's innovations included a grocery store alongside a drugstore plus home products, off-street parking, gas station, and — eventually — clothing. Meijer, which today are very large stores which combine a supermarket and a department store, opened its first one-stop shopping center in 1934[where?]. Meijer opened its first hypermarket in Grand Rapids, Michigan, entitled "Thrifty Acres", and calling the format a "Supercenter", and in Europe by Carrefour, which opened its first such store in 1963 at Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, France. In the Americas, the format remained in regional use only until the late 1980s. The now defunct retailer Steinberg operated four hypermarkets in Québec under the name Steinberg Beaucoup from 1974 until early the 1990s.
The hypermarket concept spread in the United States in 1987, both with the introduction of stores by Carrefour, and by major American chains. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the three major discount store chains in the United States—Wal-Mart, Kmart and Target—started developing discount stores in the hypermarket format. Wal-Mart introduced Hypermart USA in 1987 and later Wal-Mart Supercenter, and Kmart developed Super Kmart.
In the early 1990s, hypermarkets selling fuel begin to make inroads in the United States. H-E-B was among the stores selling fuel in the Southwest. The concept was first introduced to the United States in the 1960s when a number of supermarket chains and retailers like Sears tried to sell fuel, but it did not generate sufficient consumer interest. In 1991, Dayton-Hudson Corporation (now Target Corporation) expanded its Target Greatland discount store chain into Columbus, Ohio, where it learned that its general merchandise superstores were unable to compete against the Meijer hypermarket chain. In response, Dayton-Hudson entered the hypermarket format in 1995 by opening its first SuperTarget store in Omaha, Nebraska.
Today there are approximately 4,500 hypermarket stores selling fuel, representing an estimated 14 billion US gallons (53,000,000 m3) sold each year.
Despite its success, the hypermarket business model may be under threat from on-line shopping and the shift towards customization according to analysts like Sanjeev Sanyal, Deutsche Bank's Global Strategist. Sanyal has also argued that some developing countries such as India may even skip the hypermarket stage and directly go online.
After the successes of super- and hyper-markets and amid fears that smaller stores would be forced out of business, France enacted laws that made it more difficult to build hypermarkets and also restricted the amount of economic leverage that hypermarket chains can impose upon their suppliers (the Loi Galland).
In France, hypermarkets are generally situated in shopping centers (French: centre commercial or centre d'achats) outside of cities, though some are present in the city center. They are surrounded by extensive parking lots, and generally by other specialized superstores that sell clothing, sports gear, automotive items, etc.
In Japan, hypermarkets may be found in urban areas as well as less populated areas. The Japanese government encourages hypermarket installations, as mutual investment by financial stocks are a common way to run hypermarkets. Japanese hypermarkets may contain restaurants, Manga (Japanese comic) stands, Internet cafes, typical department store merchandise, a full range of groceries, beauty salons and other services all inside the same store. A recent[when?] trend has been to combine the dollar store concept with the hypermarket blueprint, giving rise to the "hyakkin plaza"—hyakkin (百均) or hyaku en (百円) means 100 yen (roughly 1 US dollar).
List of hypermarkets
See List of hypermarkets, for a full list of hypermarkets operating in countries sorted alphabetically, and to know more about the history of hypermarkets in those countries.
Another category of stores sometimes included in the hypermarket category is the membership-based wholesale warehouse clubs that are popular in North America, pioneered by Fedco and today including Sam's Club, a division of Wal-Mart; Costco, in which Carrefour has a small ownership percentage;, BJ's Wholesale Club on the East Coast and Clubes City Club in Mexico. In Europe, Makro (owned by METRO AG) leads the market.
However, warehouse clubs differ from hypermarkets in that they have sparse interior decor and require paid membership.
- MacColl, E. Kimbark (1979). The Growth of a City: Power and Politics in Portland, Oregon 1915-1950. Portland, Oregon: The Georgian Press. ISBN 0-9603408-1-5.
- Meijer: History
- Column: Meijer's first Supercenter past its prime but full of good memories
- Carrefour's History
- "Top 5 Retailers", Extended Retail Solutions, issue 147.
- Jean-Mark Villermet, Naissance de l'hypermarche, 1991, ISBN 2-200-37263-9, Colin (publisher).
- Facts & Figures
- "Carrefour to launch hypermarkets as 2 U.S. firms ready versions". Discount Store News. 1987.
- The Wal-Mart Story
- Kmart At A Glance
- The History of Gasoline Retailing
- Discount Store News article Target to introduce Small Market stores - Dayton-Hudson Corp. Target Stores
- Discount Store News article Greatland may need food to succeed - Dayton Hudson Corp. Target Stores' Greatland superstores
- Discount Store News article The test takes off: SuperTarget cautiously picks up the pace - The Power Retailers: Target
- The Customization Revolution by Sanjeev Sanyal - Project Syndicate
- Clicks over Bricks in India by Sanjeev Sanyal - Project Syndicate
- Robert Spector, "Carrefour enters U.S. via share in Costco", Supermarket News, January 1985.