Carrefour opens its first hypermarkets in Singapore and Poland. Carrefour introduces the brand names Escapades Gourmandes, specializing in rare or little known traditional products, and Carrefour Bio, a certified organic line of food products. Carrefour opens its first hypermarkets in Chile, Colombia and Indonesia.
The company, which forged a strategic partnership with Tencent this year after considering abandoning the country, now sees the China market as a place to test out new ideas to reinvigorate its business.
The 1-acre store, only half of the size of a normal Carrefour hypermarket, features high-tech functions like facial recognition and cashierless checkout.
Once Carrefour in china is done, customers can choose to avoid waiting in line for a cashier by scanning their purchases themselves on WeChat. Paying then requires nothing more than a face scan. For the less-technically savvy customers, cashiers will still be on-hand to ring up purchases the old-fashioned way.
Carrefour plans to open two more Le Marche stores in Shenzhen over the next few months, said Thierry Garnier, executive director of Carrefour Greater China. The opening of the Le Marche store in Shanghai comes at a time when Carrefour has hit a wall in the highly competitive China market.
In the first quarter, same-store sales in China fell 6. Carrefour, which had been considering the sale of its China unit, ended up striking a strategic partnership with Tencent in January and securing investment from Tencent and local supermarket chain Yonghui.
Garnier called the China market a retail laboratory and said that the company has and will try more-innovative models in the country.
The Le Marche store features an in-house cooking services of sorts in which customers can pick out food and have it prepared at the store.
Garnier said that Carrefour plans to launch more small-format grocery stores. Besides the new store, the company has launched convenience stores under the brand Easy. Sales growth of the small store has been better than expected, he said, and has a promising future.
Other retail giants that have traditionally operated supermarkets have also tried out smaller stores. In April, Walmart Inc. Chinese retailer Suning Group, which had 23 smaller stores at the end ofhopes to open 1, new locations this year.
Contact reporter Coco Feng renkefeng caixin.Property Division is the international retail real-estate expert of the Carrefour Group in Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, China, Poland, Romania and Taiwan.
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