The Brand / Franchise
Over the past 40 years, the Carrefour group has grown to become one of the world’s leading distribution groups. The world’s second-largest retailer and the largest in Europe, the group currently operates four main grocery store formats: hypermarkets, supermarkets, cash&carry and convenience stores. The Carrefour group currently has over 9,500 stores, either company-operated or franchises.
The Carrefour company was created by the Fournier and Defforey families in 1959, opening its first supermarket in Annecy, Haute-Savoie, France a year later. The 70s saw the establishment of Carrefour’s first branches outside of France, opening hypermarkets in Spain and even Brazil. In less than a decade, such noteworthy product lines were introduced by Carrefour such as the “produits libres”, a whole line of unbranded products which are “just as good, and cheaper”. The future never looked brighter for Carrefour who were soon to open hypermarkets as far afield as Turkey, Mexico, Argentina, Italy, Malaysia and Taiwan; launch Carrefour Insurance Services and Carrefour Vacances (Travel Services) in the mid-80s to early 90s,take over the French hypermarket chains Euromarché and Manotlaur and later on still, merge with Promodès to create the largest European food retailing group (second largest worldwide) in 1999. Carrefour’s name has always been synonymous with quality control and testament to this, established ‘filière quality systems’ in 1992, which guarantee product origin and traceability. However, the 90s also saw the introduction of brand names such as Escapades Gourmandes, specializing in rare or little known traditional products, and Carrefour Bio, a certified organic line of food products; cementing Carrefour’s reputation for quality and tradition, a reputation which has always kept the franchise a step ahead of its competitors. Closer to our times, we have also seen Carrefour’s launch of the global Shareholding plan reserved for its employees in the year 2000 and the Group’s commitment to reducing its energy consumption by 20% per sq.m of sales area by 2020 (relative to 2004), again making the franchise one of the leading proponents of ethical business planning.
Carrefour Around the World
Wherever it has a presence, Carrefour is actively committed to promoting local economic development. Since retail activities are all about contact with people, the group consistently emphasizes local recruitment plus management and staff training on the job wherever they work.
Typically, the Carrefour group will be one of the leading private employers in any country where it operates. Naturally, this is the case for France, where the group was originally founded, but it is also true of such countries as Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Italy and Greece. The group also seeks to support local suppliers, with some 90-95% of the products on its shelves sourced locally, depending on the country.
A pioneering entrant in countries such as Brazil (1975) and China (1995), the group currently operates in three major markets: Europe, Latin America and Asia. With a presence in 32 countries, over 57% of group turnover derives from outside France. The group sees strong potential for further international growth in the future, particularly in such large national markets as China, Brazil, Indonesia, Poland and Turkey.