Its shops dot France. Some ironically call him the "
king of junk
" and his success makes his competitors salivate. This Saturday, the emperor of "
ideas of genius
" celebrates his 40th birthday. 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.
Read alsoThe CEO of Gifi is building a discount distribution empire with great strides
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, as a 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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