An area of 42,000 m2, or four football fields: in Wattrelos, just next to Roubaix (North), the “Quai 30” runs seven days a week, from 6 am to 9.30 pm. “This warehouse, which required 50 million euros of investment, is one of the most modern in Europe, underlines Patrice Fitzner, logistics director of La Redoute. Here you can prepare up to 3,500 orders per hour. “
Sales up from April
Largely robotic, the “Quai 30” did not experience a drop in speed in 2020: it operated non-stop unlike the warehouses of other e-commerce giants which had to reorganize, in particular to respect physical distances between employees. Thanks to this site and the 500 employees who work there, La Redoute has been able to keep up with the intense pace of orders recorded since the first confinement. After a few days of floating, sales started to rise again in April, notably purchases of office and domestic equipment such as yoghurt makers or sewing machines!
“ We got through this crisis satisfactorily “, sum up with one voice Nathalie Balla and Éric Courteille, the two directors of La Redoute. The online shopping offer offered by the brand met the needs of confined customers, making La Redoute “A necessary alternative”, according to Nathalie Balla. “The health crisis has validated the transformation work of the past six years, complete Éric Courteille. It is the combination of the economic and structural conditions that allowed us to obtain these results. “
Average age of buyers 42 years old
The results ? The business volume slightly exceeded one billion euros in 2020, a figure up 20% compared to 2019. And one million new customers were gained last year, which is now 11 million customers for La Redoubt, which has become essential in the e-commerce sector thanks to this double pillar: clothing (40% of sales) and home (60%). Partnerships with influencers on the Internet, skilful use of social networks: by following trends and questioning itself, the company has succeeded in recent years in rejuvenating its clientele, whose average age is now around 42 years.
Few companies of this size (around 2,000 employees, including 500 internationally) are headed by a team: “Together, we are stronger and faster”, affirm the two fifties, two former executives of the house who bought La Redoute, then in great difficulty, for 1 € symbolic from the Kering group in 2014.
A painful social plan
After a painful social plan (1,178 jobs cut in four years) whose last upheavals are still being felt, the duo brought the company back to balance in 2017. That year, the Galeries Lafayette group took control of 51% of the capital, a share which should be increased to 100% at the end of 2021.
By taking care not to turn too abruptly the “catalog” page of its history – which completely disappeared at the end of 2015 -, La Redoute has also gained in importance on the web by developing its own products (currently 70% of its turnover ) and an “ marketplace “ open to other brands.
To reduce delivery times as much as possible, it has invested in its “Quai 30”. While large products are managed in another warehouse, in Anzin, near Valenciennes, more than 300,000 references are stored in Wattrelos: “Less than two hours after the click, the order leaves the warehouse packed, ready to leave by truck”, indicates the logistics director. To meet up in letter boxes or relay points the next day or two.
Good outlook for 2021
The robots largely facilitate the processing of orders but the work of the operators remains arduous: “ We stay up to seven hours up, underlines Ali Hattabi, FO union representative. We should be able to change work every two hours to avoid repetitive actions. “ The management ensures that large investments have been made in the ergonomics of the stations.
Nathalie Balla and Éric Courteille say they are proud “To have put on the rails of today’s trade” the venerable 180-year-old Roubaix company which generates 30% of its turnover abroad. Despite or perhaps even thanks to the health crisis, 2021 promises to be auspicious for La Redoute. In early February, the e-commerce company also signed a profit-sharing agreement with several unions for 2021-2023, the last dating back to 2011.
La Reboucle, a new second-hand site
Launched in January 2021, the personal resale site created by La Redoute already attracts lovers of second-hand items. More than 400,000 visitors have logged in to view the 40,000 ads online. On lareboucle.fr, the customer can place an advertisement for free to sell his fashion, decoration or furnishing articles by fixing his price. And order more. The items are shipped everywhere in France, delivered to Relais Colis points. And for bulky items, the site offers Cocolis, a transport solution between individuals