Abstract: The "Vending Machines": French Hypermarkets in Spain since the 1960s

Rafael Castro Balaguer


The paper seeks to categorize and explain the patterns of internationalization of big retailing companies in the very long run, drawing the path of one of the most successful sectors in French international business: grocery retailing. The main focus of the research is the Carrefour Group and the starting hypothesis assesses that the arrival and success of French hypermarkets in Spain is due to a set of circumstances: the fact that Spain (where the research includes the stories of PRYCA and Continente) was a neighboring country and a preferential destination for French tourists is, probably, the first reason. We cannot forget the relaxed legislation in the country and the election of good local partners. This work is a case of study on the international investment in a sector with a lack of research in historical perspective: it is the history of a business with a gradual growth, from pioneering investments, and that seems to fit with the theoretical framework developed by several authors of the School of Uppsala in the 1970s.