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Carrefour: Stocking up shelves around the world

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Carrefour, a France-based international hypermarket chain, is one of the largest of its kind with 1395 hypermarkets and ranks second in the world in terms of revenue. Started in 1959, it is now present internationally in locations as diverse as Europe, Argentina, Brazil, China, Taiwan, and Colombia and the Dominican Republic. This hypermarket chain has had quite a journey from its first store in Annency, to stores even in North Africa and Asia. Created by Marcel Fournier, Denis Defforey and Jacques Defforey, the original stores have grown into a hypermarket chain.

The Carrefour group can be credited as the first group in Europe to open a hypermarket, a large supermarket and a department store, all under the same roof. Carrefour has a host of hypermarkets, supermarkets, convenience stores and cash and carry outlets in its basket. In the UK, Carrefour had several hypermarkets until the 1980s. Later, they were converted to Gateway Superstores and presently, many of the old Carrefour stores are branches of ASDA. Some of Carrefour's products are distributed in the UK through Ocado.

Carrefour has been actively committing itself to promoting local economic development. As retail outlets require having contacts with people, the group consistently emphasizes local recruitment and management, and on the job training for its 400,000 employees. Globally, the Carrefour brand has been an unqualified success. Carrefour is renowned for its innovative approaches. In order to lure customers into its stores, Carrefour is making its formats more complementary and introducing innovative store concepts. For example, Carrefour plans to open pilot convenience stores in city centers and Carrefour Contact points on the outskirts in France. As it intends to be a multi-channel retailer, it needs to strengthen its presence in e-commerce.

Carrefour plans to generate growth by developing its multi-format model, increasing convergence and giving a fresh impetus by enhancing sales growth, price competitiveness and image. Carrefour's "G4" countries in Europe include Spain, Italy, Belgium and France, and it plans to implement measures to maintain growth and improve performance. Carrefour also plans to support French producers and encourage people to buy fruits and vegetables without affecting their purchasing power. This move comes at a time when French producers are experiencing difficulties in the uncertain economic climate. This also serves as a guarantee for consumers who know that they are buying high-quality products at fair prices. In 2011, Carrefour generated sales of $44.6 billion and it is devising and implementing an action plan with the objective of attaining higher sales through the year.

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