PARIS — Edouard Leclerc, founder of the E. Leclerc supermarket chain, died today at age 85, a spokeswoman for the company confirmed.


Leclerc started business with a single store in Brittany in 1949, before offering like-minded shopkeepers the opportunity to join what the firm calls “Le Mouvement E. Leclerc,” now a cooperative of 560 domestic stores and 114 international outlets.


Leclerc was notably famous for championing the cause of purchasing power for the French public, coming up against both the state and distributors on various occasions over the decades.


This is a mission that his son, the group’s current president Michel-Edouard Leclerc, who co-presided the organization at his side until 2005 before becoming president, continues to publicly fight.