Carrefour Belgium’s restructuring plan will contain both two store closures (hypermarkets in Genk and Angleur) and job cuts at the main office in Evere.
Carrefour Belgium wants to reassess its 44 integrated hypermarkets’ efficiency: three will be turned into a supermarket formula (Westerlo, Bruges Sint-Kruis and Haine-Saint-Pierre). The hypermarket in Turnhout will become smaller, but maintain its status as a hypermarket. Two structurally onerous hypermarkets, in Genk and Belle-Île in Angleur, will close their doors.
The company is also considering a simplification and digitization operation at its main office and how to increase the productivity of its central operations and wherein to invest. These decisions could impact up to 1,223 employees, namely 1,053 hypermarket staff and 180 in Carrefour Belgium’s main office. The chain’s 443 Market Supermarkets and 296 Express convenience stores will not be touched.
The restructuring plans are part of CEO Alexandre Bompard’s Carrefour 2022 transformation plan, which he revealed on Tuesday. This plan will have sizeable cuts and major investments in e-commerce, proximity and an improved fresh food product range. The group’s French main office will cut 2,400 jobs and it will also sell or shut down 273 former DIA stores. The French hypermarkets will also lose 100,000 sqm of floor space, but none will be shut down.
The retailer emphasizes that the industry has faced new challenges and invasive changes since the previous restructuring plan in 2010. Belgian consumers’ shopping behaviour is evolving and (mainly foreign) e-commerce is gaining in importance. Belgians also consumed less in 2017. All-in all, this has forced Carrefour Belgium to strengthen its commercial vigor and to revise its expenses.
The company wants to actively work on its customer services, on the expansion of its digital platform, on fresh and organic food, on its private labels and on its local link thanks to local manufacturers and suppliers. The company will also invest to improve its employees and franchisees’ capabilities. One such example is the foundation of a Digital Academy.
In contrast with the store closures and job cuts, Carrefour Belgium will open more than 30 new Market Supermarkets and Express convenience stores and exactly 70 e-commerce pick-up locations throughout 2018. It will also invest in price setting and logistics. In order to enable these investments, the company needs to cut costs and needs to increase efficiency.
The board confirmed its strong desire to limit the social damage as much as possible and to consider every possible alternative or accompanying measure, in collaboration with the social partners. Carrefour currently employs 11,500 people and manages 45 Carrefour Hypermarkets, 443 Market Supermarkets, 296 Express convenience stores and 179 Drive pick-up locations in Belgium.