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Fnac founder dies aged 96

Founder of high-street giant Fnac Max Théret believed cheap consumer goods complimented his left-wing ideals.

26 February 2009

THE founder of the high street giant Fnac Max Théret has died aged 96.

Born on January 6, 1913 in Paris, he led his life as a militant socialist, and left for Spain in the 1930s to fight for republicans in the Civil War. During the Second World War he worked in the Resistance.

Mr Théret founded the Fnac chain with his friend and fellow left-wing militant André Essel in 1954.

Fnac (Fédération nationale d'achat des cadres) started off life as a club in a Paris apartment selling photographic equipment, offering its members significant reductions on usual prices.

The men believed “action for the consumer complimented political action” through cheaper products.

The second shop opened in 1969 on avenue de Wagram in Paris, then the next in 1972 in Lyon.

The men were also known for several controversies, such as occupying the premises of the Conseil national du patronat français in 1968 and recruiting political refugees.

Max Théret left Fnac in 1981.

He was often approached for financial aid and in 1985 bailed out daily newspaper Le Matin.

In 1988 he was accused of insider dealing in the political and financial Pechiney-Triangle scandal, and was handed a two-year suspended sentence.

He will be cremated at the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris on March 3.

Photo: AFP / Michele Théret

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