In spring 2022, the French brand Courir opened its new logistics platform in Montierchaume (36). A highly mechanized hub, working for your stores and e-commerce flows, which will serve as a lever for your European and digital developments.
In 2020, one in two shoes sold in France was a “sneaker”. A large segment in a market that represents 3 billion euros in France, with a strong growth rate for three years. And if the world of clothing may experience a slight drop in this inflationary context, the world of footwear remains strong and dynamic (with an expected growth of 4.5% per year until 2026), little affected by the financial arbitrage of consumers, because footwear remains not only a modern product, but also subject to regular wear and tear and purchases. It is, therefore, in this favorable context that the French brand Courir maintains its position as number 1 in the sale of sneakers in France since 2016, all channels combined, with a 16% market share. 🇧🇷 We had a turnover of 515 million euros in 2021 and sold 6 million sneakers in France in that period “Summies Pierre Chambaudrie, President of Courir. For this, the company has a network of 312 stores in Europe – currently unaffected by a drop in traffic: “ On the contrary, we see an increase in our tools. This does not mean that the economic situation cannot change this trend, but we see that footwear continues to be a pleasure market, with the desire to see and try it in stores. “, emphasizes Pierre Chambaudrie. Courir also has an e-commerce activity that already represents 18% of the brand’s activity (a figure multiplied by three since 2019, confinements are mandatory, but also thanks to the catch-up work in this segment carried out by the group since 2016).
An increase in digital services
The company has managed to develop its digital positioning in recent years. In 2014, she made the decision to launch her e-commerce website. The beginning of a strategy implemented with several omnichannel services over time: order-in-store from 2016 (which today represents 4 to 5% of a store’s activity), e-reservation in 2017, then click-and- collect and ship-from-store in 2021.” These are services that work well beyond our expectations. The sales profession has changed and we’ve tested change management with our partner SoCloz on the subject, with easy-to-use tools to view incoming orders and bookings. In addition, all these digital activities are part of the store’s business. », details Pierre Chambaudrie, judging that « this omnichannel strategy is Courir’s strength and differential in the French market “. Courir also wants to continue with its European development, vigorously pursued for five years, with store openings in five countries. The process began in 2018 with Spain, which today has 20 stores and 227 employees for a volume of estimated turnover of 25 million euros for 2022. Belgium (21 stores, 245 employees and 33 million turnover) and Luxembourg (2 stores, 25 people and 4 million turnover) followed in 2019, followed by Portugal in 2020 (4 stores, 41 employees, for 6 million turnover). This year, Courir entered the highly competitive Dutch market, with three stores already in the country. If the company intends to consolidate and reinforce the potential of these different territories ( increasing to 40 stores in Spain, for example), is also looking to other countries.” Our policy is to launch one country per year, with real store density, which is balanced with a digital strategy “. In this sense, the company points to an activity carried by 2026 to 25% by digital and 25% by international stores.
A European hub
Faced with these ambitions, Courir therefore decided to also strengthen its logistics, inaugurating last April a new unique and European platform to support its growth and the increase in its activity. The location is located in Montierchaume (36), a few kilometers from Châteauroux, where the brand already had a warehouse for almost 20 years. A manual site that was beginning to show its limits and that was not adapting to the growth of e-commerce activity. Courir thus launched a public tender in mid-2019. It was its historic service provider (since 2014) ID Logistics that won, for several reasons, as Yves Simon de Kergunic, Courir’s IT and Supply Chain Director, explains: “ This project met our expectations of service and capacity, with environmental aspects integrated into the building, Breeam Very Good certified, with responsible water management and solar panels throughout the roof. But there was the possibility of promoting the teams that had been with us in Chateauroux for years. This allowed us to guarantee the start-up and jobs, and all employees accompanied us in this transfer of activity, which was joined by 30 new hires, that is, a total of 170 employees, who work from Monday to Saturday morning. It is a sustainability mark for the region, but also a way to develop new skills for our teams. “. In fact, the site, with a surface of 23,000 m² in two cells (18,000 m² on the ground + mezzanines), is equipped with new automation technologies that have transformed the on-site processes from one end to the other of the logistics chain, allowing align the logistics tool with the needs of storage capacity, reduction of delivery time and reliability of flows as explained by Frédéric Grenier, Group Business Development Director at ID Logistics. Although the 15 million euros investment in mechanization was carried out by ID Logistics for Courir, the brand will eventually become the owner of this mechanization, which allows it to maintain control of its equipment. The automated solutions were built by SSI Schaefer and the flows were designed by Diagma. On the WMS side, the warehouse uses Savoye’s LMXT as well as the editor’s put-to-light solutions. Enough to respond to significant flows: last year, 15 million items were shipped in BtoB and 1.5 million in BtoC.
Mechanized logistics in perpetual optimization
Mechanization of the site starts at the reception, with telescopic conveyors that enter the trucks and allow for fast processing. From its 55 suppliers, Courir receives trucks with heterogeneous pallets or bulk loading daily, which will be fractioned for integration into the mechanized system. Each package will then be measured, weighed and checked by the system, and a label is affixed to both sides of the box to allow accurate tracking. Two paths are then possible: if there are many common references, they will be consolidated into complete pallets, filmed and then stored on high racks with 6,000 slots, in one of the warehouse spaces. Otherwise, the boxes will be stored in a miniload system measuring 96 meters in length and 16 meters in height, consisting of eight aisles for 80,000 spaces.
When they leave for the picking and shipping area, the packages are picked up by the miniload. The top of the cardboard is automatically opened by a cutting robot that removes the cover. Thus, when the package arrives in the preparation area, the employee no longer needs to open it (a tedious task that occupied four people at the previous location), which reduces processing time and risks when opening. Depending on sales forecasts, orders will be distributed in different areas. Both low turnover and clothing products (a segment that Courir is developing alongside footwear) are taken to a mezzanine, on three floors, with 37,000 spaces. Products are transported by elevators and operators place them on racks until they are shipped. But the warehouse also has an area dedicated to high-demand products, located right next to the preparation areas. This had to respond to a very specific problem for Courir: the difficulty in identifying a range of products with high turnover in the long term. 🇧🇷 By analyzing store portfolios, we found that the best sales of one day are not the best sales of the next day. We then decided to create an area capable of storing 700 references among the 20,000 existing in the warehouse. Daily, the IT tool analyzes orders, analyzes the most important upcoming releases and selects the products that will be placed in this area. It comes with 14 receiving stations with shelves equipped with put-to-light solutions. It is completely replenished and reorganized nightly by nightly staff in order to prepare for the day ahead. And the goal is, of course, for this area to be completely empty at the end of a working day. “, details Yves Simon de Kergunic. The preparation part is divided into several stages: both on the mezzanines and in the high turnover area, operators choose the products to be shipped that are placed in boxes. These are then shipped for palletization (to stores) or for e-commerce packaging. With an average shopping basket of 1.2 products, most orders are single products. The rare multi-product e-commerce orders are managed by post-distribution teams, with different packaging formats to optimize filling. Orders are then transported by carriers for dispatch, with dedicated arrivals for each dock. Transport is provided by various service providers, mainly Geodis, located next to the Courir warehouse, but also by other parties depending on the shipping areas.
From this central site, all Courir activity is addressed, from the reception of suppliers to shipments throughout Europe, with no intention to launch another site at the moment. 🇧🇷 We’re in pretty close geographies right now. The issue may arise in the future, but right now, an organization with multiple warehouses would be less efficient. » explains Marion Riffard, director of supply chain and auditing at Courir. This highlights the many benefits of this new site: “ We improved the quality of the store’s supply and the system allows us to prioritize shipments as needed. And on the e-commerce side, we went from preparing e-commerce in 24 hours to just 30 minutes on average, taking into account Sundays. So it’s high performing, and we’re still increasing “. In total, this site allows Courir to process an average of 80,000 items per day. A number that already varies greatly during the peak of business activity (back to school, Black Friday and end of year holidays) which can rise to 140,000 pieces a day (thanks to the help of temporary team supplements). And the recruitment will expand with about thirty positions in the line of sight. But Courir wanted to think big with this terrain and guarantee its development in the coming years: the terrain of two hectares has a land reserve that can increase the land surface by 12,000 m² in two complementary cells, while mechanized solutions can be extended. In the end, the warehouse could process up to 200,000 items per day. An asset of choice, as Courir wants to accelerate its digital and international deployment in the coming years.