11 March 2019 1062 words, 5 min. read

Retail marketing strategy: Nicolas, Comtesse du Barry and de Neuville join forces

By Lorène Fauvelle PhD in marketing, director of IntoTheMinds
In the age of the digitalisation of markets, many consumers are turning to e-commerce, sometimes undermining local shops, which are particularly affected by the phenomenon of showrooming. In response, retailers are increasingly redesigning their marketing strategy to maintain their share […]

In the age of the digitalisation of markets, many consumers are turning to e-commerce, sometimes undermining local shops, which are particularly affected by the phenomenon of showrooming. In response, retailers are increasingly redesigning their marketing strategy to maintain their share of the market.
In this article, we review the opening of the Savour Histoires de Gourmets’ concept store in Vichy at the end of 2018, the partnership between the Comtesse du Barry, de Neuville and Nicolas brands. Far from being an anecdote, this pop-up store represents a first initiative in the fight between the historical brands and the new Internet retailers.


  1. The role of e-commerce in shopping behaviour
  2. The ‘Savour Histoires de Gourmets’ partnership
  3. Some statistics

The role of e-commerce in shopping behaviour

Consumers are increasingly inclined to shop online. No one would ever doubt that. Ease and competitiveness are the keywords that encourage consumers to turn to online shopping, supported by increasingly flexible and fast delivery terms.
However, these arguments must be placed in a more global framework encompassing both the physical stores and their evolution towards the phygital (see our analysis on the future of supermarkets and the example of a purely phygital shop). According to the market research conducted by OTO Research, between 49% and 55% of people entering a shop end up making their purchases online. The advantages are numerous: home delivery, competitive prices and services, sites accessible 24 hours a day from home.

Some brands, particularly ready-to-wear brands, offer their customers the opportunity to order their items online and to pick them up, try them on and even return them to the store. However, it would be simplistic to think of the physical store as a window for e-commerce.90% of purchases made are still made in stores, and new operating methods only need to be tested to attract customers. The example of Comtesse du Barry, Nicolas and Neuville is proof of this.

The ‘Savour Histoires de Gourmets’ partnership

Various options are available to the retail world to face the e-commerce giants. While some retailers opt for interactive showcases, a redesign of their points of sale, ever more advanced customer experiences or innovative business models such as DNVB, others see some brands as partners of choice to increase their share of the market.

This is how the story of Savour Histoires de Gourmets began, the association of three famous French brands in a single point of sale. Promoting similar values both in the quality of their products and their services, Comtesse du Barry, a delicatessen offering products from the French regions, de Neuville, a 100% French master chocolatier and Nicolas, shops specialising in the sale of wines and spirits, have joined forces to open a first shared store. This is a first in France. The store was opened in December 2018 in Vichy and aims to bring together the complementary offers of the three brands in a single point of sale.

The advantages of the Comtesse du Barry concept store

  • Economies of scale: the combination of 3 brands makes it possible to share costs and consider setting up in new locations
  • Cross-selling: customers buy products from several brands during their visit. At least two products of different brands in consumers’ shopping baskets

Whether for tourists or French citizens, this concept store is for those who love local products and French gastronomy. They will be able to find in the same place salted, sweetened products, wines and other products typical of French cuisine.
The advantage of such a structure for these already well-known brands is that they can offer complementary product ranges – and always of the same quality – to consumers who will no longer have to travel to different parts of the city to find their entire regional shopping basket.

Customers loyal to one of the three brands will then be in a better position to discover the products of the other two brands since each has its dedicated area. The three brands already observe this: a customer does not only buy from Comtesse du Barry but also wishes to enhance his purchases in the grocery with a bottle of wine from Nicolas for example.
In addition to gaining new customers, this association also aims to enable its brands to establish themselves in places that are indeed interesting, but which would have been too risky if one of the brands had opened a shop alone in this area. Of course, this concept also helps to combat the desertification of city centres and the rise of e-commerce.

The significant point is, of course, the name of the brand chosen by the brands, all of whom wear the same hat ‘Savour Histoires de Gourmets’. This choice can be explained by the three brands’ desire to be on an equal footing with the market and to represent this alliance independently of their brands. This allows the three brands to flourish separately but also together and prevents one brand from being under the control of another.

Some statistics

1 location that combines 3 traditional and well-known knowhows.

Savour Histoires de Gourmets presents 1,140 references in store, including 800 from Nicolas, 250 from Comtesse du Barry and 90 from Neuville.

Space is shared, so are the costs. These are divided by 3. The supplies – furniture, computer system, etc. – are systematically sourced from one of the three brands represented.

1st assessment at the beginning of February very satisfactory as, after the surprise, the customer seems to appreciate the concept store. Sales prove it since a shopping basket contains on average two or even three products of different brands. A customer who enters to see the wines quickly finds himself buying delicacies or chocolate.

This first Savour Histoires de Gourmets brand is a pilot store. Comtesse du Barry, de Neuville and Nicolas should, according to Les Echos de la Franchise, open between 4 and six new stores in the next two years of testing.

For the time being, Comtesse du Barry, Nicolas and Neuville have the ambition to continue to develop their common brand Savour Histoires de Gourmets in France, in areas – particularly city centres – that are difficult to work in alone, in places such as stations and airports, and why not also in other countries. Indeed, the name of the brand is reflected in function. “Savour” which means “flavour” in English, provides an excellent opportunity for the three brands to be able to develop their shared name abroad in the future.

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