Category Archives: Carrefour China

Carrefour still keen on expanding presence in China

Source: Want China Times

French hypermarket chain Carrefour has announced it will continue to open new stores in China even though the company is struggling to promote its global sales, reports Shanghai’s First Financial Daily. Continue reading

Carrefour to be fined up to $80,000 for mis-pricing: Xinhua

Source: Reuters

(Reuters) – French supermarket chain Carrefour SA (CARR.PA) could be fined up to 500,000 yuan ($80,100) for misleading customers over prices at one of its outlets in northwestern China, state news agency Xinhua said on Sunday. Continue reading

Carrefour says it will not sell its Chinese division

Source: Want China Times

International hypermarket chain Carrefour has denied claims that it plans to sell its Chinese division for US$6 billion to China Resources or to the country’s state-owned foodstuff company COFCO and says the chain is dedicated to pursuing long-term growth in China.
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Foreign retailers feel the pinch of rapid expansion

Source: By Li Woke (China Daily)

The buzz of fast expansion in China comes with a hefty price tag for foreign retail giants.
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Carrefour sets up CPC branch in Beijing

Source: Global Times By Ling Yuhuan

Retailing giant Carrefour has established a Party branch in its Beijing operation, a move seen as the company’s stepped up efforts to localize and improve management in one of the fastest growing markets.

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Carrefour to hire Chinese MBAs

Source: By Li Woke (chinadaily.com.cn)

France’s Carrefour SA China plans to recruit Chinese MBA students as store managers to support its fast expansion plans in the world’s second largest economy.

“Carrefour China will recruit more than 20 store general managers who are MBA students in the next six months to work for its outlets,” said Joanna Meng, human resources director and vice-president of Carrefour China.

The event, Carrefour China Day, sponsored by the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University, aims to hire the high-caliber students.

According to the world’s second largest retailer by sales revenue, after the US’ Wal-Mart, all the MBA students from Peking University hired this time will be put into senior management positions at the store general manager level. After being hired, they will receive one-year Mandarin elite training in the company involving the systematic study of 15 courses including marketing, finance and security. During the last stage of the training program, they will have the opportunity to take a business tour of Europe.

In addition, Carrefour China will also try to recruit potential employees from MBA students studying in the universities of Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu to build up its management team.

“Carrefour provides a good platform and opportunities for the students. It gives them enough room for further training and promotion,” said Meng.

“My past work experience was related to retailing. I think I can learn a lot while working for traditional retailing industries,” said a current MBA student at Peking University.

As one of the earliest foreign retailers operating in China, Carrefour has been maintaining solid growth. The retail giant opens 20 to 25 new stores in the country each year. As of April this year, Carrefour China already had 206 stores in 64 Chinese cities, employing more than 58,000 people. As many as 98 percent of the store managers and 50 percent of the regional managers are Chinese. In 2010, Carrefour China also promoted a Chinese employee to the position of the country’s general manager, a key member of the company’s executive committee.

“In order to meet the demand of our fast store expansion, we are having face-to-face interactions with the MBA students at the school and are recruiting the would-be management professionals who are interested in the retail industry, have leadership and good personalities,” said Meng.

In 2006, the company signed a contract with China-Europe International Business School and gave it $128,410 to help it recruit elite MBA students.

Carrefour Names New CEO

Source: china.org.cn By Yan Pei

French retail giant Carrefour announced Monday its appointment of Georges Plassat as the new chief executive officer, replacing Lars Olofsson, following the company’s recent low profit warnings sending its share price tumbling.

According to Carrefour’s statement, Plassat will join the company ranks on April 2 and will become board chairman and CEO after the June 18 board meeting.

Carrefour has lowered its profit forecast five times since it announced the 1.5-billion-euro (US$2 billion) plan to restructure some of its largest European stores in September 2010. The retailer’s market value has shrunk by 7 billion euros since Olofsson started as CEO in January 2008. The first thing on Plassat’s plate will be to restore investor confidence.

Plassat ran Carrefour’s Spanish business between 1997 and 1999. He later served 11 years in French clothing retailer Vivarte as CEO.

Carrefour has maintained a rate of 20 to 25 new stores opening every year in China. However, the retail giant has decided to step up its expansion by opening 30 stores this year.

Carrefour to Speed up China Store Openings in 2012

Source: 21 Century Business Herald

January 17, Carrefour SA, the world’s second-largest retailer, will accelerate its pace of new store openings in China this year, the China Business News reported on Tuesday, citing a person from the retailer’s local operations.

Carrefour will open 30 new stores in China this year, up from 20-25 new openings per year in recent years, the report said.

The person said China is the fastest-growing market and holds the most potential for Carrefour, which cut operations globally in 2010 as profitability declined.

The French retailer sold off or shut supermarkets in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Russia and China’s western Xi’an city in 2010.

As of Dec. 31, Carrefour has 203 supermarkets in mainland China, according to data compiled by linkshop.com, a domestic retail portal.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer by revenue, has grown more quickly than Carrefour — it had more than 300 China-based stores at the end of last year.

UK retail group Tesco Plc., the world’s third-largest, said it planned to invest £2 billion in its China expansion between 2011-2015, China News Services reported in May 2011, citing the vice CEO of Tesco China.

Tesco had 93 supermarkets and 12 convenience stores in China as of the end of last January, according to the company’s website.

Supermarkets in China to see major changes in 2012

Source: Want China Times

A new round of changes is likely to be seen in the Chinese supermarket industry this year after unprecedented upheavals in 2011, fueled by the outbreak of controversial issues including price fraud, management reorganization, and falsely labeled products.

In 2011, four major retailers — Carrefour, Wal-Mart, Tesco and Metro — all saw top-level management changes in their China operations. Beijing Business Today, a newspaper, reported that industry insiders believe the management reshuffles mirror changes in the four enterprises’ stance toward the Chinese market. New managers will face stiff competition from domestic rivals and rapidly increasing costs.

Price fraud at supermarkets triggered a chain reaction last year; on Jan. 26, the National Development and Reform Commission publicized “forged original prices” and other irregular practices at many major retailers. Despite penalties handed out by the commission, price fraud still persists, including the posting of two sets of prices, falsified price tags and false discounts.

Another change will affect the way retailers deal with farmers. The Ministry of Commerce has asked municipal regulators to assist with the direct supply by farmers to major supermarkets to cut down on costs and enable consumers to buy products at lower prices.

Global supermarkets conquer China in its first 10 years as WTO member

Source: Xinhua

BEIJING, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) — China’s entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO) a decade ago opened the floodgates to foreign investment in a variety of areas, but the retailing sector is surely the most potent symbol of how foreign businesses have come, competed and conquered on the levelling field.

The days have long gone when neighborhood shop keepers would man their counters, ready to dispense to customers whatever their little shops would hold, and when buyers had to go to separate places for groceries, electronics and other products.

The landing of supermarkets, with their open shelves, abundant variety and lower prices, changed everything, transforming the way people shop in China. To see supermarkets’ appeal as China marks the 10th anniversary of its accession to the WTO, observers need only look at the growth of French-based chain Carrefour. Just days ago, it celebrated the opening of its 200th store in China.

“Going to supermarkets is becoming our first choice for shopping, especially for food and daily necessities,” confirmed one shopper, 40-year-old Beijinger Zhang Ling.

The retailing sector was among the first areas in which China loosened its grip and welcomed foreign businesses upon entry into the WTO, when it allowed the forming of joint ventures in five special economic zones and several other cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Zhengzhou and Wuhan.

“The policy has greatly facilitated our efforts to add new stores in China,” said Sun Jie, general manager of Carrefour in the Tianjin-Shandong districts.

Global retailers including Carrefour and Wal-Mart have successfully forayed into the market with lower prices and better services. They have also tailored their offering to Chinese customers. Wal-Mart has tied with some 20,000 local suppliers and over 95 percent of its products are made in China, for example. Besides, it has taken a slew of measures to reduce costs in logistics to make products less expensive.

Meanwhile, their dedication to customer service and their management mode gives foreign supermarkets another competitive edge to win Chinese consumers.

“Supermarkets provide more choice. Moreover, the services and management there are better than at local stores,” said 30-year-old customer Qi Xuan.

Such customer approval has allowed foreign supermarkets a growing presence in China.

On Dec. 1, Carrefour opened its 200th store in China, in the city of Changzhou, Jiangsu province. Over the past 10 years, it has expanded product items to over 80,000 from 30,000.

Wal-Mart has also posted strong growth, with 358 of its malls scattered across the country’s 21 provinces and regions by Dec. 6. Sales volume in China has accounted for nearly 10 percent of its global sales, according to Li Ling, Wal-Mart China Senior Director of Corporate Affairs.

Data from the Ministry of Commerce shows that there were 2,864 foreign retail companies in China by the end of Jan. 2011, involving foreign capital of 6.38 billion U.S. dollars.

Li attributed the robust growth partly to China’s policy improvements since its inclusion into the WTO. “After the entry, China has fostered a more regulated and mature environment for foreign investments, which gives us better development opportunities,” she said.

With China’s fast pace of urbanization and rapidly growing numbers of middle-class consumers, analysts forecast the country will have become the largest retail market by 2014.

Moreover, China’s determination to spur the domestic market in the 12th Five-Year-Plan period (2011-2015) will create more opportunities for the sector, said Li.

On the other hand, foreign retailers’ growing presence has to some extent crowded out sales of domestic stores. Analysts said the competition would inspire local stores to improve products and service quality though.

Sun said the market-based rules would make the native businesses mature and develop faster.

“The foreign retailers have brought to China competition as well as new management, operation and service modes, which has provided a lot of learning opportunities for Chinese retailers,” said Sun.