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13/11/2022

Marie Blachère speeds up its growth process

Marie Blachère

The company is known as the “McDonald’s” of bread. In twenty years, the Marie Blachère Group has become the third largest French player in the fast-food sector. Strong growth, driven by a unique development strategy. Experts from AURIS Finance, a consultancy firm specialising in mergers and acquisitions, give their analysis.

The French love whiter bread. According to an article published in Le Monde in 2020, 80% of bakery customers ask for “a baguette that is not too baked”. This love of underbaked bread has not gone unnoticed by North Americans, who were already surprised by this French trend in The Wall Street Journal back in 2013. French bakery group Marie Blachère has built its empire on this observation. Since it was founded in 2004, the company has offered its customers three different types of baguette: well-baked, golden, and white. This initiative was later followed by other establishments, but it remains the hallmark of Marie Blachère.

Industrial craftsmanship

Another characteristic feature of the group is the choice of location for its shops. With an average surface area much larger than that of traditional bakeries (400 square metres on average), they are located on the outskirts of towns, near shopping centres. The shops stand out for their attractive price positioning, with a baguette sold for €0.74 and special offers such as half-price thirty minutes before closing time. The brand claims to have a “farmer’s market-style product presentation” and, despite its industrial strength, still offers artisanal products made on site rather than in factories. In addition to bakery products, the brand has quickly become a leader in the fast-food sector, becoming one of the top three players in the French market, just behind McDonald’s and Burger King.

Partnership with Grand Frais

The group’s growth is accelerating, with a current total of 700 points of sale in France and 70 new openings planned by 2022. In 2008, the company entered into a partnership with Grand Frais to support the retailer’s new store openings in France and abroad, most recently in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Encouraged by its good results, Marie Blachère is stepping up its international initiatives with the opening of a store in New York in February 2019 and another in Lisbon. In 2021, sales have reached €1 billion, of which €800 million were generated by the bakery and fast-food business and €200 million by the group’s two fresh produce brands (Provence’Halles and Mangeons Frais).

Rumours of a sale

Marie Blachère is now accelerating its growth by developing franchising. Despite a substantial initial investment (€100,000), it promises its franchisees a rapid ROI (€1 million after two years). The group, which has an EBITDA of €100 million, has recently been the subject of rumours of a sale, with investment funds planning to take a stake. The group has denied this and intends to maintain its family shareholding. The company is 91% owned by its founder, Bernard Blachère, whose fortune is estimated at €150 million.

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#Food, Beverage & Agribusiness