Publié le 07/03/2023


When ARISTID becomes MARGUERITE for a day…


Aristid becomes Marguerite for a day

marguerite Day

The success of Aristide Boucicaut, founder of modern commerce, from which our name is inspired, would surely not have been equal had he not been supported and then replaced by his wife Marguerite.

The retail professions have played an important role in female employment, and it’s vital that retail tech is committed to parity and professional equality between men and women. We’re proud to have achieved a sharp rise in our equal pay index this year, and we’re committed to staying the course.

See our equality pay index


Marguerite Day is a day dedicated to equal pay for men and women. A conference on this theme is offered to all ARISTID employees.


“Marguerite” cookies relay the invitation.


Women with the most seniority in the company receive special attention.

Discover Marguerite’s story

marguerite boucicaut

Aristide and Marguerite Boucicaut started from scratch, and through their intelligence created the first department store, a success story that served as a model for the entire category of multi-department “department stores” in Europe and America.

Of this illustrious couple, Aristide remained the figurehead, as the times demanded… yet the influence of his wife Marguerite’s role was major in all the commercial and social innovations they implemented. Aristide, a feminist before his time, never denied his share of responsibility for their triumph.


Born in 1816, Marguerite Guérin started out as a seamstress’s assistant, then “moved up” to Paris as an apprentice laundress. A determined woman, she went on to manage a “bouillon”, where she met Aristide, a simple salesman in a small store.

Aristide took over management of Le Bon Marché in 1863, after buying out his partners. From then on, the retail couple practiced their best talent: selling! Emile Zola was inspired by their success to write “Au bonheur des Dames”, in which Marguerite is played by Denise Mouret, a valiant character whose role falls far short of reality.

Marguerite was a keen observer, pointing out to her husband the controversy created by the passion of upper-class women for her store and the church’s criticism of the flattering relationship they entered into with the salespeople, who were necessarily men in those days.

To further their trade, they dared two revolutions that played a major role in the emancipation of women.

Le Bon Marché was the first store to employ saleswomen to serve its female clientele: les demoiselles de magasin.

This opportunity for social advancement offered to young girls from modest families became a real goal for many families who raised their daughters with this in mind, as women flocked from all over France to apply as saleswomen and then try to become “secondes” and then “premières”, with between 30 and 40 people under their command.

The store girls were housed and fed at Le Bon Marché, where they were given music, singing and English language lessons. They also benefited from health insurance and, once married, maternity leave. One of these famous “firsts” was Marie Louise Jay, who founded La Samaritaine with her husband Ernest Cognacq in 1869.

Aristide and Marguerite also played an important role in the emancipation of upper-class women.

By creating a “meeting and sharing place” where they sometimes spent the whole day, the Boucicauts enabled these women to spend time away from home in the library, the writing room, the winter garden… opening up to the world far from their husbands.

Thanks to the creation of a home delivery service, women no longer need to be accompanied by “chaperones”. They can take advantage of the book entrance and fixed prices to wander around the stalls without being bothered or judged by unscrupulous salesmen. What’s new for them is that a share of the family budget is devolved to them, giving them a degree of economic and social independence.

From Aristide Boucicaut to ARISTID Retail Technology...

The Boucicauts were ahead of their time, and influenced it. They were behind a number of commercial innovations that still set the standard today.

  • First to offer fixed prices;
  • First to cut margins to sell larger volumes and rotations of new products.
  • The first to install electricity and elevators, an extension of a young engineer Gustave Eiffel…
  • First to advertise their stores and their spectacular sales in the press.
  • The first to guarantee product returns and deliver to customers in Paris and the provinces.
  • The first to send out increasingly sophisticated catalogs, spreading the elegance of the Parisienne (150 employees in the “samples” department).
  • Marguerite distributes diaries to customers, with sales appointments already written down for them.
  • They invented the month of white and theatrical events in store.
  • They offer games to children, to make them come back with their mothers…

Aristide and Marguerite are visionaries, they have the energy to build, and respect for their background encourages them to be philanthropic and generous.

  • All employees are entitled to a weekly day off, medical assistance – unprecedented…
  • They set the working day at a maximum of 12 hours (instead of 16!) and offer annual leave.


When Aristide died in 1877, Marguerite, the powerful matron, refused to sell and took over the running of the establishment, a rare occurrence in this very patriarchal 19th century. At the time, sales stood at 67 million, with 1,788 employees serving 18,000 customers a day.

For 10 years, she developed the store and increased the number of departments, created the first catalog dedicated to Étrennes and Christmas toys, and invested in a pension fund for all employees.

A philanthropist at the time of her death, she divided her fortune between the creation of hospitals, maternity wards, donations to medical research (a gift of 100,000 gold francs to the Pasteur Institute) and cultural activities. With no successors, she bequeathed her store and sixteen million gold francs to her employees, not forgetting the night watchmen, in sums ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 francs according to seniority.

See our equality index



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