Fauchon to bring French delicacies to more shoppers overseas

Wed Sep 18, 2013 9:02am EDT
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By Dominique Vidalon

PARIS (Reuters) - French luxury food group Fauchon plans to grow faster overseas to meet Middle Eastern and Asian appetite for delicacies such as its raspberry champagne eclair, with the aim of adding 40 stores to its global network of 60 by 2017.

Fauchon, saved from bankruptcy in 2004, already makes 80 percent of its sales abroad and has been expanding in Asia and the Middle-East via subsidiaries in Dubai, Hong-Kong and Tokyo, opening gift stores and restaurants to cater to well-heeled shoppers with a taste for gourmet food.

"We are on track to double in size," Chief Executive Eric Vincent, who joined Fauchon in February 2013, told a news conference on Wednesday.

Founded in 1886 on the Place de la Madeleine in central Paris by a pushcart fruit and vegetable grocer named Auguste Fauchon, the company has become famous for products like its eclairs, macaroons, foie gras and Brie cheese with truffles.

Fauchon held an "eclair week" at its Paris store in early September, according to its website, where it showed off eclairs designed in the Middle East and Asia by local pasty cooks.

The unlisted company competes in the luxury food emporium world with rivals such as France's Hediard to Britain's Fortnum & Mason.

Michel Ducros, the entrepreneur who rescued Fauchon in 2004, holds 90 percent of the capital, with the rest in the hands of management and some private investors.

Fauchon reached operational break-even in fiscal year 2008/09 and is now debt-free, generating a free cash flow of around 3 million euros, Vincent said.   Continued...