From January 2007 till December 2009, I was at Carrefour. I was the regional HR Manager for Beijing.
Carrefour S.A. (Euronext: CA) (French pronunciation: [kaʁfuʁ]) is a French
international hypermarket chain. Headquartered in Levallois-Perret, France, Carrefour is the largest hypermarket chain in the world in terms of size, the
second largest retail group in the world in terms of revenue and third largest
in profit after Wal-Mart and Tesco. Carrefour operates mainly in Europe,
Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia and in the Dominican Republic, but also has
shops in North Africa and other parts of Asia. Carrefour means "crossroads" in
The first Carrefour store opened on June 3, 1957, in suburban Annecy near a crossroads (carrefour in French). The group was created by Marcel Fournier, Denis Defforey and Jacques Defforey and grew into a chain from this first sales outlet. In 1999 it merged with Promodès, known as Continent, one of its major competitors in the French market.
Marcel Fournier, Denis Defforey and Jacques Defforey had attended several seminars in the United States led by "The Pope of modern distribution" Bernardo Trujillo, who influenced other famous French executives like Édouard Leclerc (E.Leclerc), Gérard Mulliez (Auchan), Paul Dubrule (Accor), and Gérard Pélisson (Accor). Their slogan was "No parking, no business."
The Carrefour group pioneered the concept of a hypermarket[dubious – discuss], a large supermarket and a department store under the same roof. They opened their first hypermarket June 15, 1963 in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, near Paris in France.
In April 1976, Carrefour launched a private label Produits libres (free products -- libre meaning free in the sense of liberty as opposed to gratis) line of fifty foodstuffs, including oil, biscuits (crackers and cookies), milk, and pasta, sold in unbranded white packages at substantially lower prices.
In September 2009, Carrefour updated its logo.
Carrefour Batu Pahat, which is located in Taman Flora UtamaHypermarkets: "Choice and quality for everyone"
Hypermarkets: "Esta bueno para vos" (Argentina) ("It's good for you")
Hypermarkets: "Sempre o menor preço." (Brazil), ("Always the lowest price")
Hypermarkets: "Life, the way I want it"(Singapore)
Hypermarkets: "Untuk hidup yang lebih baik" (Indonesia), it means "For a better life"
Hypermarkets: "Pentru o viaţă mai bună" (Romania); it means "For a better life"
Supermarkets: "The prices people want, close to home"
Hard Discount: "Grocery products at low, low prices"
Convenience Stores: "Just what you need, right next door"
Cash & Carry: "Proximity and accessibility for catering professionals"
Hypermarkets, Cash & Carry: "Καθε μέρα για σένα"(Cyprus) means "Every day, for you"
Carrefour Carrefour around the world in September 2007
In 1989, Carrefour became the first international retailer to establish a
presence in Asia when it entered Taiwan through a joint venture with Uni
President Enterprises Corporation. It leveraged the experience it gathered in
Taiwan to expand into other Asian markets. Carrefour also operates in the United
Arab Emirates and Jordan in a joint venture with Majid al Futtaim. In March
2007, Carrefour opened a store in Kuwait in the Avenues mall. In Oman, Carrefour
opened a store in 2003 on the outskirts of the city of Muscat. Carrefour also
has 11 franchise operated hypermarkets in Saudi Arabia, with 5 of them being in
the capital Riyadh itself. In 2007, expansion accelerated outside France,
particularly in Asia, with the building of 36 new hypermarkets, including 22 in
China - where the Group broke its record for store openings in a one-year
On October 15, 2009 Carrefour announced plans to sell its Russian business, citing "absence of sufficient organic growth and acquisition opportunities".
Carrefour has a presence in 4 countries in the Americas: Brazil, Argentina,
Colombia, and the Dominican Republic. Carrefour is active in 3 types of retail
distribution: hypermarkets, supermarkets and hard discounters, and entered the
Cash & Carry market in Brazil, after the purchase of Atacadão. Carrefour was
also active in Mexico between 1995 and 2005, when the 29 hypermarkets opened at
the moment were sold to Chedraui.
Carrefour Criticism and controversies
The Carrefour supermarket at Faa'a, Tahiti, French PolynesiaOn May 1, 2007, more than 30 employees of the now closed Carrefour Ratu Plaza, Jakarta, Indonesia, were taken to the Central Pertamina Hospital (Rumah Sakit Pusat Pertamina), after being poisoned by CO2. The hypermarket was located on the mall's basement, which offered insufficient ventilation.
On June 26, 2007 the company was convicted in a French court for false advertising. The suit alleged that Carrefour regularly stocked insufficient quantities of advertised products for sale. In addition, the company was convicted of selling products below cost and accepting kickbacks from wholesalers. Carrefour was ordered to pay a fine of €2 million and to prominently and legibly display a notice in all of its French stores disclosing the false advertising.
In Carrefour Mangga Dua Square, Jakarta, Indonesia, a 5-metre high metal rack fell on top of a 3-year old boy, killing him almost instantly due to internal bleeding. Afterwards, the victim's family claimed that Carrefour has refused to meet with them to settle the case. However, Carrefour Corporate Affairs Officer denied this allegation.
Carrefour has also received criticism for engaging in sweatshop practices.
On May 7, 2009, the French government asked a tribunal to fine Carrefour some €220,000 for more than 2,500 violations. Meat products lacked proper tracking information (more than 25% of inventory at some locations), and some products had incorrect labels — such as meat products that "shrank" in weight by 15% after receiving labels. The chain sold products that had long since passed their expiration dates, including, in one case, packs of baby formula that had expired six months earlier. Some 1,625 frozen and refrigerated products were found that had been stored in warehouses at ambient temperature.
Carrefour Boycott of supplies in China
A Carrefour outlet in Beijing, China promotes the use of canvas bags as opposed to plastic bags prior to the 2008 Summer Olympics.In April 2008, after the 2008 Olympic torch relay was disrupted by Tibetan independence advocates in London and especially Paris, where some protesters attempted to wrest control of the torch from torch bearers, Chinese activists have promoted boycotting Carrefour because of its French roots. The boycott of Carrefour in particular was further fueled by unsubstantiated rumours that a major shareholder, Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton, had donated to the Dalai Lama. In its response, Carrefour China stated that it does support the Beijing Olympics; and that they will never do anything to harm the feelings of Chinese people. Protests occurred in and around a number of Carrefour outlets throughout China, and anti-Carrefour advocates campaigned for a one-day boycott of Carrefour on May Day, a public holiday in China.
As a result of the boycott, Chinese search engines Baidu.com.cn and sina.com blocked access to Carrefour's website in China for a short time. Users searching 家乐福, Carrefour in Chinese, were given an error page indicating "The search result may contain illegal content, so we can not display the result." in Chinese.
Carrefour Former countries
Former Carrefour store in Minoh City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Carrefour Bangkok, Thailand
Carrefour Munro, Buenos Aires, ArgentinaChile ― In 2004, Carrefour sold its 8 hypermarkets in Chile to D&S;
Czech Republic — In September 2005, Carrefour sold to Tesco (the biggest UK retailer) 11 stores in the Czech Republic. Tesco paid €57.4 million as well as its stores in Taiwan. Carrefour had opened its first store in 1998 in the Czech Republic. The stores use the Tesco name and brand now;
Hong Kong — On September 18, 2000, Carrefour closed its stores in Hong Kong after complaints from manufacturers about selling products (especially electronics) at prices far below those of its competitors. A company spokesman said at that time that the closures were due to "difficulties in finding sites suitable for developing its hypermarket concept and quickly acquiring a significant market share". Carrefour had entered the Hong Kong market in December 1996 with a store in Heng Fa Chuen and had later added stores in Tsuen Wan, Tuen Mun and Yuen Long. Plans to open additional stores in Ma On Shan and Tseung Kwan O had been cancelled.
Japan — In 2005, Carrefour sold its 8 hypermarkets to AEON Group;
Mexico — In March 2005, Carrefour sold its 29 hypermarkets in Mexico to Chedraui. Carrefour had opened its first store in 1995 in Mexico;
Portugal — Carrefour entered Portugal by buying its first stores in 1991 - two Euromaché hypermarkets, in Telheiras (a Lisbon neighbourhood) and Vila Nova de Gaia (suburbs of Porto); This chain was known to have very good quality products, mainly from French origin, when in July 2007 Carrefour sold all of its 12 hypermarkets and 9 fuel stations to Sonae for €662 million. Also included were 11 licenses for opening new commercial spaces. Nowadays only the 365 hard-discount supermarkets (Minipreço) are supported by Carrefour in this country, not included in the takeover.
Russia - Carrefour entered Russian market in Summer of 2009. In October 2009, only a month after it opened its second hypermarket in the country, Carrefour announced it is exiting Russia.
South Korea — In 2006, Carrefour sold its 32 hypermarkets to E-Land. The stores have been re-branded as Homever
Switzerland - In August 2007 Carrefour sold its 12 hypermarkets in Switzerland to Swiss retailer Coop for $390 million;
United Kingdom — Carrefour had several hypermarkets in the UK until around 1990. The first of these was opened in the early 1970s in Caerphilly, South Wales. Subsequent outlets were opened at Merry Hill, Dudley; Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham; Glasshoughton (near Castleford); Eastleigh, Hampshire; MetroCentre (Gateshead); Telford Shopping Centre, Shropshire; Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire; Swindon and Cribbs Causeway in Bristol. All stores were later acquired by the Dee Corporation, but continued to trade as Carrefour for some time before being converted to Gateway Superstores. Today many of the old Carrefour stores in the UK are branches of Asda, notably the Merry Hill store which became an Asda in 1990, having been a Gateway for the previous two years.
United States — Carrefour opened hypermarkets in Philadelphia and Voorhees Township, New Jersey, in 1988 and 1992 respectively. Both stores closed in 1994. Some associates wore roller skates to facilitate moving about the large building. The Voorhees location now houses a Kohl's department store, a Raymour & Flanigan furniture store, and a Marshalls discount clothing store. The Philadelphia location (within the Franklin Mills Mall complex) houses a Wal-Mart and a few other stores.
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