French grocery chain Carrefour is to reinforce its non-food offer and become more flexible over store
sizes as the chain targets faster expansion in a consolidated set of markets.
Carrefour has trialled new formats and a stronger nonfood offer in Spain, said chief executive officer Jose-Luis Duran at the IGD Global Retail Conference in London recently, but has exited five countries in the past year as it builds its store group around Europe, Asia and South America.
Carrefour converted 10 Champion supermarkets to a new mini-hypermarket format called Carrefour Express
last year and the same number again in the first quarter of this year, as the group revised its minimum hypermarket size from 75,350 sqft to 37,675 sqft.
Duran said: "When your supermarkets are losing $49 million a year it's not so difficult to make that decision. The stores have the same pricing as hypermarkets, a third more own-label brands and sales are up 30%."
Carrefour has also been testing its discount format Dia at 12,915 sqft, up from 10,765 sqft. The retailer wants to take the revised formats to Poland and Brazil after successful trials in Spain. Duran said: "We were
very rigid about the size and format of our stores, but not any longer."
Carrefour has also been trying out new approaches to its non-food areas in Spain, where it has deployed three times more dedicated sales staff than it uses in France, resulting in a major sales uplift. "We need to reinforce nonfood at the shopfloor," said Duran. "We are looking at category and assortment management.
My feeling at the moment is that we are too wide, but not deep enough and we need to look at that – I think inevitably there will be some category sacrifices to address this."
Carrefour recently launched a non-food e-tail business called Boostore.com, which offers everything from flowers to computers. Carrefour is also increasing its hypermarket opening programme this year. Last year, Carrefour opened nearly 50 hypermarkets, and Duran said that he aimed to double that figure this year.
China and Brazil are two areas the retailer is focusing on, with 25 hypermarkets planned for China and 13 for Brazil.