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  • Martine Fuxa

Courir Wants to be an Active Player for Fairer Fashion

In April, Courir inaugurated a 23,000 m² warehouse and is banking on this new logistics organisation to support its growth and CSR strategy. Yves Simon de Kergunic , IT and supply chain director and Pierre Chambraudie , president of Courir, explains.

Can you present Courir's logistics organisation, in France and internationally?

Yves Simon de Kergunic: Courir has a single warehouse that handles all its logistics operations throughout Europe, both physical and digital. The company opened this new warehouse in April 2022. The robotised site in Montierchaume serves as Courir's European platform. Its scope covers all shops in all countries, as well as e-commerce.

The objective of this new site was to strengthen our logistics to support our current and future growth. It is located in Montierchaume in the Indre department (36), a few kilometres from Châteauroux where we have already been present since 2014.

Is the logistics site part of a responsible approach?

Yves Simon de Kergunic: Yes, it is fully in line with the company's responsible approach and is Breeam Very Good certified. The building meets high standards in terms of sustainable construction. It is equipped with photovoltaic panels installed on the entire roof and thus produces more electricity than it currently consumes, which will be used in the future to extend the warehouse. The site is also equipped with technological systems to manage water and electricity more responsibly and to allow a considerable reduction in waste.

What is the potential of this new warehouse and what are your ambitions?

Yves Simon de Kergunic: The site is modular, with a possible extension of 12,000 m² in addition to the 23,000 m² already in use in two cells: 16,000 m² on the ground and 7,000 m² on the mezzanine. The company currently processes nearly 80,000 items per day and will be able to handle up to 200,000 in the future. All of the employees from the old warehouse are now employed at the new site, which has both secured the start-up and kept jobs local.

Our employees have also been able to develop new skills or even upgrade their skills thanks to the automation technologies that have transformed the processes on site, from one end of the supply chain to the other. This fully meets the needs of storage capacity, reduced delivery time and reliable flows. We have taken on 30 new staff, bringing the total number of employees at the new site to 170, and we plan to recruit another 30 by 2026 to meet our growth forecasts.

Today, Courir's e-commerce share represents 18% of its activity and, with this new logistics site, the company aims to reach 25% by 2026.

What are the major logistics issues and challenges for the retail sector, in your opinion?

Yves Simon de Kergunic: There are several. The growing constraints for shop delivery (last mile issue), a global CSR issue, particularly in transport, mastering omnichannel, as well as the integration of new skills for existing teams (technologies, CSR) and young people. Finally, one of the major challenges is also customer satisfaction in terms of speed, reliability, follow-up, and taking the environment into account.

What is your view on the trend of quick commerce?

Yves Simon de Kergunic: Quick commerce is a trend that we are of course observing, but we believe that it has its limits in our market. In our opinion, the best response to customer needs is one that combines comfort and speed on the one hand, with ecological common sense on the other. The click and collect express service that we launched last year and deployed in all our French shops is a response to this need: the customer places an order from home and it is available for collection in a shop near his home in less than two hours.

Ship-from-store is also intended to meet this need, even if we need to work on a faster and more ecological delivery proposal. We looked into express ship-from-store, which would consist of delivering the customer to their home in two hours (by courier) with a shop as the starting point, but in the end we find that, apart from for event purposes, it makes little sense, unless it is coupled with carbon-neutral delivery.

What trends do you foresee for the end of the year and the peak of activity during the festive season, and what structure have you planned for the logistics organisation?

Yves Simon de Kergunic: There is a business forecast reviewed every week by Courir and our partner ID Logistics. In the short term, we are focusing on Black Friday. During these intense periods of e-commerce activity, the new warehouse allows us to respond to peaks in activity quickly and safely. Courir processes almost 80,000 items per day on average, a figure that can rise to 140,000 items per day during these peak periods.

What are the main lines of Courir's roadmap for 2023?

Yves Simon de Kergunic: As far as the supply chain and the warehouse are concerned, 2023 will allow us to consolidate the start-up and optimise the various processes. In 2023, we will continue our international development. In 2022, Courir opened its sixth country. The brand is already preparing for the next steps with a development strategy based on three points: maintaining its position in countries where it is already present, strengthening its potential in these same countries and asserting its presence in new countries.

Pierre Chambaudrie: Our CSR strategy will also be developed. In particular, we have a circular economy project based on the recycling of sneakers, but we can't say any more about it for the moment.

For a long time, Courir has developed a CSR policy around the notions of inclusion, diversity and parity, particularly through the promotion of women, disabilities and talent.

Today, we want to be a player who acts for a fairer fashion and since the end of 2021 we have developed the "Green Spirit" with a new mission for the brand: to guide the consumer and enable him to make more sustainable choices.

We have thus created an eco-responsible rating system, a first in the sneaker retail sector, with the aim of highlighting our more responsible and ethical offer with clarity, transparency and education to help consumers decipher the so-called "green" products of our partner brands (with more than 400 references today, the brand's eco-responsible offer has doubled since 2021). This year, we have also committed ourselves to sponsoring the SeaCleaners association.

What synergies exist between the physical networks and e-commerce?

Pierre Chambaudrie: Omnichannel is what makes Courir's strength and difference on the market. Since the launch of our e-commerce site in 2014, we have positioned ourselves as a strong player in connected commerce. Over the years, Courir has endeavoured to develop different omnichannel paths to diversify the purchasing process and increase the synergies between the different sales channels in order to provide better support for our customers.

At the heart of our strategy, Courir's omnichannel nature is a real added value in a sector where competitors are mostly either pure players or large groups that lack proximity. We combine the digital and the physical like no other player on the French market. Courir's primary omnichannel ambition is to build a bridge between e-commerce and shops. This has been the case since 2016, starting with click and collect and then order-in-store and e-booking in 2017.

To better blend these two sales channels, we went one step further with the implementation of two new services last year: ship-from-store and click and collect express, which were made possible by the unification of our stocks implemented in 2017 with the order management system (OMS). For almost 10 years now, omnichannel has been one of Courir's differentiating factors, allowing us to be the leader compared to other brands present on the web and in physical stores.

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