Leroy Merlin SA has built one of Europe's top Do it yourself (DIY) and home improvement retail groups. The company isthe market leader in France, Spain, and Portugal, and also holds a prominent share of the Italian market. Leroy Merlin also operates stores in Poland, Brazil, China, and Belgium. In total, thecompany's retail network extends to more than 200 stores, most of which operate under the Leroy Merlin name. The average sales surface of a Leroy Merlin store is 10,000 square meters. Other store names in thegroup's network include Obi, based primarily in the south of France, and Aki, in Spain and Portugal. The company is also rapidly expanding its deep-discount format, Bricoman, which specializes inconstruction materials, with an average selling space of 2,700 square meters. Leroy Merlin has been at the forefront of DIY trends in France--where the home improvement market is also one of the largestleisure segments--transitioning its emphasis from pure DIY products to an increasing emphasis on home decorations and services. The company also has taken the lead in offering installation services,allowing its customers to take advantage of attractive sales tax cuts on artisan-installed products. Leroy Merlin produces nearly EUR 4 billion in revenues. The company is owned at approximately 88percent by France's retail powerhouse Auchan SA (the remaining 12 percent is held by employees).
From Surplus to Building Supplies in the 1920s
The Leroy family's commercial activity stemmed from atleast the 1890s, when a Mrs. Leroy began selling groceries door-to-door in the village of Billy Berclau, in the Pas de Calais region of France. Leroy proved an able saleswoman, and before long enlistedthe aid of her son, Adolphe, then working as a miner, to help her in the evenings. Adolphe later took over his mother's business, which remained prosperous until World War I.
By the end of the war,...