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A study clarifies the status of “dark stores” and “pedestrian drives” in Paris

A Getir “dark store” in Amsterdam (Netherlands), February 8, 2022.

To do their shopping, the Parisian used to have the choice between the supermarket, the convenience store or the grocery store. The recent appearance of “quick commerce”, the promise of delivery in ten minutes, the proliferation of “dark kitchens”, these restaurants devoted to the preparation of prepared meals, and the rise of pedestrian drives, or “solo”, have pushed the Atelier parisien d’urbanisme (APUR) to publish a study in February on “The new forms of food distribution in Paris”. In addition to the inventory drawn up therein, this document clarifies the legal status of these new activities and shows that many of them do not comply with the regulations.

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For all these models, the health crisis was a godsend. “In 2020, food shopping delivered at home increased by 45% in France”, reminds the APUR. Paris, a dense city with high purchasing power, serves as a trial balloon before spreading to the inner suburbs and then to the provinces. The fierce battle they are waging to take market share “is reminiscent of the confrontation that took place in Paris (…), self-service bicycle players from 2017 and (…) electric scooter operators in 2019”.

Respond to competition

As such, the development of “dark stores”, the latest arrivals, supported by dizzying fundraising, is dazzling. In January 2022, there were 80 of them in Paris and the inner suburbs, according to APUR. In the inner suburbs, with the exception of one listed in Ivry, in the Val-de-Marne, all are settled in the Hauts-de-Seine. “Even if economic profitability is far from certain, the priority objective” is to occupy the land as quickly as possible, explains APUR. However, none of the neighborhoods in which they are located lacks food shops, notes the study.

To react to competition, the Casino and Carrefour groups first formed partnerships with Uber Eats and Deliveroo to offer express delivery; before going directly to the capital of Gorillas and Cajoo. When Monoprix and Franprix deliver in ten minutes, it is with the support of Gorillas.

Dark kitchens are either linked to a physical restaurant and allow it to expand its delivery area, or are 100% digital

Appearing in 2018, pedestrian drives were first grafted onto the large network of convenience stores to develop. In Paris, Carrefour has opened 80; Casino, around fifty. Intermarché and Leclerc only have about ten, Auchan only one. But at the beginning of 2020, Lerclerc and Auchan launched the solo pedestrian drive, which allowed them to make their appearance in the Parisian landscape. In 80% of cases, they replaced a business, for the vast majority vacant. Since the surfaces were less than 400 square meters, no commercial exploitation authorization was required.

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