Sales: $72 billion (2002)
Stock Exchanges: Euronext Paris
Ticker Symbol: CA
NAIC: 445110 Supermarkets and Other Grocery (Except Convenience) Stores; 452910 Warehouse Clubs and Superstores; 445120 Convenience Stores; 452990 All Other General Merchandise Stores
The Group has formulated a policy based on convenience, trust, low prices and quality products and services. All over the world, Carrefour is working to bring consumer products within the reach of the greatest number of people. It is succeeding by tightly integrating its stores into the local fabric, adapting its product lines and services, providing continuing professional training to its employees and taking actions to support local sustainable development in the regions where it operates.
1959: Marcel Fournier and Louis Defforey establish Carrefour. 1960: The first Carrefour store opens and is an immediate success. 1963: Carrefour establishes its first hypermart.
1970: The company goes public.
1985: Fournier dies; by now the company has expanded to ten countries. 1991: Euromarché is acquired.
1998: The company purchases Comptoirs Modernes SA.
2000: Carrefour merges with Promodès SA to become Europe's largest retailer.
As the world's second largest retailer, Carrefour SA operates more than 10,300 stores in France and abroad under more than two dozen names including Carrefour, Champion, Shopi, Marché Plus, Dia, Ed, and Promocash. The company merged with Promodès SA in 2000 to become Europe's leading operator of supermarkets, convenience stores, discount stores, cash-and-carry outlets, and hypermarkets. The company's founders created the concept of the hypermarket, an expanded supermarket offering a wide variety of merchandise--including groceries, electronics, clothing, and automotive supplies--that allowed consumers to accomplish most of their shopping at one store. Hypermarkets became a rapid success, revolutionizing the retail industry in France and worldwide.
Carrefour emerged in 1959 as a collaboration between two entrepreneurs, Marcel Fournier and Louis Defforey, in Annecy, a city in eastern France that had become increasingly industrialized since World War II. Both men came from successful, enterprising families, and each was anxious to expand his own business by building large supermarkets. Fournier already had established the department store Grand Magasin de Nouveautés Fournier d'Annecy and had connections in the Casino supermarket company, and Defforey was president of Badin-Defforey in Lagnieu.
In the 1950s the French grocery industry consisted primarily of family operations. Traditional grocery stores, committed to providing a variety of high-quality products, accounted for 83 percent of food sales. As fewer young people entered into family businesses, however, and grocers' unions, independent wholesalers, and food cooperatives increased in number, a need for alternatives to the smaller markets developed. At the same time, big department stores, generally located in the center of cities, often proved inconvenient, and the high prices they charged for luxury items and value-added services were prompting consumers to look elsewhere for nonfood items.
Moreover, the concept of free service was becoming increasingly popular. Free service, prevalent in...