Our history

Our history

A family story

A family story

In the Leesch family, the entrepreneurial spirit has been passed down from one generation to the next. Today, 53 years after the first Cactus store was opened in Bereldange, the company is still run by the family which founded it.


It all gets started when Joseph Leesch opens a small grocery store close to the railway station in the city of Luxembourg.


Joseph Leesch’s three sons Arthur, Aloyse and Jacques set the company up as a partnership under the name “Leesch Frères” and two years later open the first “Leesch” coffee roasting business in Rue de Strasbourg in Luxembourg.


Drawing inspiration from American supermarkets: self-service, trolleys, floor space, product range, car parks etc., Arthur Leesch’s sons Paul and Alfred introduce shopping of the future to their home country when Cactus Bereldange opens on 19 October 1967, paving the way for “new generation” retailing in Luxembourg.


The La Belle Etoile Shopping Centre, Luxembourg’s largest shopping centre, is inaugurated. The opening of the La Belle Etoile store also marks the start of the company’s involvement in catering, and in food production with Cactus fresh meat and patisserie.


The “De Schnékert” catering company is set up by Fritz Hotschnig, the Cactus group catering manager.


The first Cactus hobbi opens in the Cactus La Belle Etoile store – at the time this is a brand-new concept entirely dedicated to the home, the garden and DIY.


To mark its 20th birthday, Cactus presents Yuppi, a mascot that both educates and entertains and whose job it is to build a special relationship with children.


Cactus is expanding and needs more space. To ensure that its business runs as efficiently as possible, Cactus restructures its departments and increases its storage capacity. Createam, the advertising agency, the marketing, logistics, personnel, food and non-food purchasing departments and the warehouses are gradually moved to new premises in Windhof. On the same site another building now houses the coffee roasting and food production units, as well as the “De Schnékert” catering facilities.


The group’s management team decides on a multi-format approach by drawing a distinction between its 3 different store types, so that each can best serve specific customer requirements: Cactus hypermarkets (12,000-15,000 m2), Cactus supermarkets (2,000-5,000 m2) and Cactus Marché local stores (800-1,500 m2).


Working together with the Fédération des Herdbooks Luxembourgeois (now known as Convis), Cactus creates the “Cactus-Rëndfleesch vum Lëtzebuerger Bauer” label, which lays down very strict specifications particularly with regard to food safety, respect for the environment and animal welfare. In 1998, the label is officially approved by the Ministry of Agriculture, making it the first label of its kind to be recognized in Luxembourg.


The turn of the century heralds a major change at the head of the group as Paul Leesch retires. He sets up a management committee with his son Max Leesch as Chairman and Chief Executive, and Laurent Schonckert is appointed as the group’s Managing Director.


Another store format is added to the three existing ones when the first Cactus Shoppi (50-250 m2) opens in Ettelbruck, offering a reduced product range but covering all the needs of everyday life – ideal for quick, day-to-day shopping.


Cactus launches its loyalty card scheme so customers can now collect points and swap them either for vouchers or for valuable items during special or ongoing promotions.


The Cactus Charity project is set up bringing together all the main philanthropic work undertaken by the group.

New production units are opened in Windhof. The patisserie division, producing fine patisserie products, is now located in these modern and spacious new premises, as well as the food units which produce ready-made dishes to be distributed throughout the entire Cactus network.


The Cactus group has over 4,000 employees working in 62 different stores on 60 sites across the Grand Duchy: in 2 Cactus hypermarkets, 13 Cactus supermarkets, 9 Cactus Marché stores, 4 Cactus hobbi stores and 34 Cactus Shoppi stores, as well as in the group’s offices, production units and warehouses. Together the Cactus workforce strives day in and day out to offer its customers the very best service possible.