Established in Geneva in 1902
A Swiss family enterprise spanning over a century, four continents and four generations of the Maus and Nordmann clans. In November 1902, department store owner Leon Nordmann with close friends, brothers Ernest and Henri Maus (mercantile and hosiery wholesalers) formed a partnership and opened their first venture in Luzern. The department store specialised in textiles, notions and knitwear. Relatively modest in surface compared to leading Parisian department stores of the day, that first store boasted avant-garde commercial retail sense and practices:
- keen quality-to-price ratio: a wide assortment of quality goods at affordable prices
- centralised and grouped purchasing arms: volume order discounts and lowered store prices of goods
- client comfort and satisfaction : personalized services, store guarantee on quality of merchandise and price stability
- forward-looking and strategic expansion within city and country, and beyond continental borders
in a distinctly family business environment.
Today, Maus Frères SA is run with the same astute business flair of the enterprise’s founders. Succeeding generations of Maus and Nordmann heirs have parlayed the chain’s modest beginnings into a conglomerate of well-known retail brands and store chains in Switzerland and worldwide.
1800 - 1900
At the turn of the century, major capitals were struck by a wave of new stores that would radically change the buying habits of consumers all over the world. The stores were usually not small affairs but dramatic structures of marble, glass and steel. No longer would a customer have to go in and out of individual shops. They could now do their shopping “under one roof”. Stores boasted several floors.
Merchandise was artfully displayed in distinct “departments”: Hardware, Apparel, Kitchenware, etc. Prices were fixed. Customer comfort while shopping was a given. Elevators were installed. Elevator operators hired. Salespersons counselled. Floorwalkers ensured that shoppers were served... and served well. Porters carried parcels to customers’ waiting cars. While special catalogue orders could still be placed, catalogue shopping was now a thing of the past. The DEPARTMENT STORE was born.
In Paris, London, New York, Brussels and Berlin, temples to the new shopping order rose. Fashionable “emporiums” – as they were known at the time – replaced the blandness of general and mercantile stores. Le Bon Marché, La Samaritaine, Bainbridges, Austin’s, Selfridges, Wanamaker’s, Macy’s became part of the world’s culture.
Drapers, haberdashers, hosiers and general merchants in tiny Switzerland were also swept up by the Department Store revolution changing the face of continental Europe.
Leon Nordmann, Ernest and Henri Maus were among the pioneers of Swiss department store history.
- The Maus group of companies, based in Geneva, is organised as a private partnership at the holding level.
- Operations are monitored through Maus Frères SA, a joint stock company wholly owned by founding families Maus and Nordmann.
Code of Governance
Maus Frères SA is managed according to a dual-code of governance
The Business Code
EXPANSION AND DIVERSIFICATION
CHECK AND BALANCE
Organised as a private family partnership at the holding level, Maus Frères SA management assumes full and uncategorical commercial responsibilty in all transactions. This “unlimited” responsibility implies that, since decisions taken impact directly on family interests, care is taken to preserve at all costs, the Maus Frères SA commercial legacy.
Clients, colleagues and the general public are active concerns of Maus Frères SA. A “People First” policy governs commercial decisions. Training, career planning and social infrastructures have been part of Maus Frères SA Human resources programmes for decades.
Humanitarian causes, public health issues such as AIDS, and the arts (among many others) have long been on the list of Maus Frères SA beneficiaries. A founding member of the PHILIAS Foundation (a Swiss CSR institution), Maus Frères SA is committed to practicing the principles of corporate Social responsibility.
Maus Frères SA engagement in social welfare activities are always carried out in utmost discretion.
Retail Distribution has been and always will be the main Maus Frères SA focus. Retail Distribution is what Maus Frères SA companies do best. Over a century of experience in the activity is Maus Frères’s finest calling card.
Maus Frères SA by-laws dictate that the CEO, as well as certain members of the board, be family members. Strict selection criteria and procedures ensure that nominations are based on competence. At the time of nomination, family members should have had several years of, and extensive, field experience.
Non-family members in key management positions are chosen with the same astringency as top management. Candidates may or may not come from within the group, but all share two main characteristics : excellence and a reputation in their specific field.
Expansion and Diversification
The founders of Maus Frères SA – as their entrepreneurial fathers before them – never stopped looking to expand. Each prospective location/acquisition was evaluated as a strategic supplement/complement to the “corporate whole”.
Maus Frères’s present harmonised organisational structure reflects the founders’ commercial mind-set. Each Maus Frères SA company represents a separate vital sector in retail distribution. Sales and operations sites are chosen within a framework of streamlined management.
Future acquisitions are evaluated according to the same “lean and mean” standards.
Check and Balance
Maus Frères SA has established strict procedures to ensure clear lines of command and an effective decision-making process. Decisions are taken on a collegial basis. The Maus Frères SA CEO reports to a Board and must get Board approval for all major decisions. In matters of strategy, Business unit heads act as advisers to the CEO and in turn, take decisions for their respective activities after consulting with the group’s CEO. Reputed external advisers are part of the Maus Frères SA control process.
Final decision lies with the Maus Frères SA CEO. This executive prerogative allows considerable flexibility and nimbleness in the decision-making process.
The fibre of a Maus/Nordmann upbringing. Family members are raised to regard good deeds not as charity but as social responsibility.
In1945, well before government imposition of obligatory health insurance, Maus Frères associates pooled from their personal resources a providential fund for employees.
Corporate social responsibility, ethical commerce, culture, community spirit development : Maus Frère SA has been in the forefront of socially conscious activities, programmes and foundations, internationally, nationally and within each family enterprise.
The PHILIAS Foundation (Europe), the MANOR CULTURAL AWARD (recognising Swiss young artists), MANOR department store Christmas Charity Appeal, are a few examples of on-going MFsa involvement.
MANOR CULTURAL AWARD
Over a Century of Commitment to CONTINUITY
Each Maus and Nordmann family member involved in the group's activities is committed to preserve time-honoured family business traditions and keep alive the values of quality, excellence and social consciousness instituted by Maus Frères founders
Ernest and Henri Maus
Jacques, Bertrand and Olivier Maus
La Redoute, Viniprix, Euromarché)
in the United States
Thierry Halff, Pierre-André Maus
and accessories brand
Internet links to company websites
Maus Frères SA
6 rue Cornavin
Case postale 1880
CH-1211 GENEVE 1
Tel. +41 (0)22 908 66 00
A Career in Retail and Lifestyling with Maus Frères SA.
The possibilities of finding a career niche within the Maus Frères SA group are diverse and wide-ranging. Motivated women and men will find posts suited to their skills and ambitions whether at entry-level or in middle management.
Internal mobility, continuing education, training courses, internships ensure that staff realise their full potential. At Maus Frères SA professional enthusiasm is key to success.
Contact our Human Resource managers for more information on current employment possibilities.