Zola wrote this long before walmarts or chain stores, and I find it delightful that the marketing principle is still in avid use. For me this is a reflection on department stores and Super Stores of the modern world. But please note how blasphemous this would have sounded in 1900 Catholic France.
Google trans. ruines the last lines. It should read: Mouret had the sole passion of conquering women. He had built them this temple, to hold them at his mercy. (I love how it makes big stores sound diabolic)