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Carrefour Declares Strong Minimarket Focus

Carrefour has emphasised via two press releases the rapid roll-out of its minimarkets in two major European markets. In Poland, Carrefour intends to open 120 new franchise stores in 2017, the vast majority of these in the minimarkets channel.

Meanwhile, Carrefour Spain opened 13 Carrefour Express minimarkets in March this year alone. The retailer has ambitions in the channel, having introduced "gourmet" concept stores to the Tier 1 cities of Madrid and Barcelona. While typically found in urban centres, around 20% of Spanish Carrefour Express stores are located in catchment areas of less than 10,000 inhabitants. 


Carrefour on Minimarket Spree

Just like many European retailers, Carrefour is at pains to develop its multi-format presence, to adapt to changes in shopper habits and consumption. This translates into a shift away from its historical format, the hypermarket, to the benefit of other channels – predominantly e-commerce and minimarkets.

This strategy is no secret, as the retailer anticipates its big boxes will contribute less than half of its turnover by 2019, compared to 58% in 2012. In stark contrast, Carrefour is targeting around 9,000 proximity stores by 2019, representing a 64% increase vis à vis 2012 levels. 

While grocery e-commerce remains a hazardous business due to different levels of customer acceptance across Europe and the challenge of profitability, franchised minimarkets offer the benefits of rapid (and low capex) expansion. Looking forward, a dense store network in both urban centres and semi-rural areas should provide Carrefour with a solid base for any future e-commerce deployment, particularly as it has repeatedly emphasised its belief in click & collect to drive instore traffic and avoid the costly last mile.  

In Europe, this minimarket spree is nonetheless largely limited to Spain and Poland given the saturation in both France and Belgium, together with economic pressure reducing the franchise pool base in Italy. Even so, the underlying trend towards small boxes and convenience is expanding across Europe, calling suppliers to adapt accordingly. 

Topics: Carrefour