Archive photo from 1967 shows the first Cactus store in Bereldange
Photo: Cactus group archives
Luxembourg’s oldest supermarket chain, Cactus, opened its first store 50 years ago today, blazing a trail for new shopping trends in the country.
The group marks the occasion with an evening celebration at its first shop in Bereldange, which opened its doors on 19 October, 1967.
The chain itself was born out of a grocery store owned by Paul Leesch near the Gare in 1900. It quickly became a family business with Leesch’s sons, Arthur, Aloyse and Jacques starting “Leesch Frères” and opening a café in rue de Strasbourg.
It was the sons of Arthur, Paul and Alfred, who imported the American-style, self-service supermarket model to Luxembourg, opening the very first Cactus in Bereldange.
Their project embraced more than a supermarket, however. Six years later, they opened Cactus Belle Etoile, the biggest shopping centre in Luxembourg which took just 11 months to construct.
This 2000 square meter mall, at the heart of which was the supermarket, gave rise to a number of new activities, including the catering brand “De Schnékert”, created in 1978 by Fritz Hotschnig.
In the following years, the chain opened ever more branches until in 1984 it had 14 stores, many of which were concentrated in the south.
Today, it is the second-biggest private sector employer in Luxembourg, counting 4,030 staff at the beginning of 2017.