Carrefour CEO Georges Plassat has told 1,400 retailers at the World Retail Congress in Paris that “the physical hypermarket is not dead”. He did however add that hypermarkets can only be part of the future when collaborating with the internet.
'Only online is not enough'
Plassat admitted that Carrefour had “lost a little weight”, after having to close stores in several countries. He has also admitted to being a cool lover of the internet: “I am totally convinced that clicks and mortar are the future.”
Carrefour’s CEO feels retailers have to keep investing in their physical stores. More than 11,000 Carrefour stores in 32 countries still account for 68 % of business, he remarked. “The key is to make stores interesting and efficient to allow them to serve the needs of our customers”.
That is why retailers have to work hard to increase the quality of their array of products and to invest more in training, he feels.
Urbanization and rise of the middle class
The developing economies were another point of attention for the CEO of Carrefour: “Over the next 15 years consumers in emerging markets will migrate from the periphery of the global economy to its centre. By 2025 consumption in emerging markets will have more than doubled from 2010, jumping from 12 trillion to 30 trillion dollars.”
This mesmerizing growth will be spurred on by two trends: the worldwide urbanization and the rise of the middle class. “Armed with their mobile smartphones, they are likely to embrace the digital space even more quickly than some developed markets as we are currently witnessing in China.”
He had one remark to add to it though: a strong focus on the emerging markets cannot lead you to ignore your home market. “Never underestimate the power of domestic rivals”, he said. It is not unlikely he had Casino and particularly E.Leclerc in mind when he made this last statement…