Carrefour has introduced its first organic store in Spain – dubbed Carrefour Bio – in the capital city. Alongside the retailer's eponymous private label line, the store features organic brands. The assortment comprises ambient and chilled items; fresh produce; bulk dispensers; wines; and a snacking corner. The store is located in Malasaña, one of the trendiest district of Madrid.
Carrefour has been one of the pioneers in developing an organic assortment – and its dedicated private label line Carrefour Bio has found its way onto shelves across Europe. It is only recently that a dedicated banner was introduced in France, where it operates around a dozen Carrefour Bio stores. It is an interesting development to see Carrefour is now bringing the chain into its second largest European country, Spain.
We feel the retailer now has more room for experimentation, having recovered from crisis, with sales back in positive territory. This new concept echoes similar moves by the retailer, such as its premium supermarkets which it has piloted in Madrid and more recently Barcelona. Overall, Carrefour seems committed to being at the starting line as the Spanish organic segment looks set to take off.
Beyond specialist chains such as Veritas and Super Sano, traditional retailers in Spain are increasingly interested in the organic segment. Examples include Spar Española, which has opened dedicated "Spar Natural" stores; and indeed El Corte Ingles department stores' "La Biosfera" shop-in-shop. Besides, Carrefour is not the only French retailer moving its pawns into Spain, as illustrated by organic specialist Bio c' Bon, which has opened three stores in Madrid.
While unlikely in the short term, a legitimate question would be whether the other French giant Auchan has any similar plans in the pipeline for Spain? It is itself experimenting with a handful of organic stores in France under the Auchan Bio banner and is keen on developing its multiformat presence Europe-wide. For certain, it looks like many retailers will want to make their mark on a market that is estimated at over EUR1bn by the Spanish Agriculture Ministry and is growing rapidly.