A true French success story, Gifi celebrates its fortieth birthday

STORY – Starting from nothing, Philippe Ginestet has created a discount distribution empire. And his appetite is far from being satisfied.

Its shops dot France. Some ironically call it the “junk kingAnd its success makes its competitors salivate. This Saturday, the emperor of “genius ideas»Celebrates its 40th anniversary. On September 18, 1981, the first Gifi store – the anagram of the founder’s surname, Gi for Ginestet, Fi for Philippe – opened in Villeneuve-sur-Lot, in Lot-et-Garonne. The beginning of a story led by a lover of intuition, a real go-getter now at the head of a retail empire with nearly 10,000 employees and hundreds of stores. A man who has also scented changes in commerce, and consumers’ appetite for discount.

The beginnings are difficult. Born in 1954, son of modest horse dealers in Villeneuve-sur-Lot, Philippe Ginestet discovers the trade in the shop of his godmother, child, he says in his book Life is a genius idea: the strength to love (Eyrolles editions, January 2021). “It was a space

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