Carrefour is still focused on expansion, because the French company has now purchased 53 Italian Billa stores, which had belonged to Germany group Rewe up until now. It had previously bought Dia's French stores.
Carrefour will pay an undisclosed fee for the 53 Billa supermarkets, which are all located in northern Italy (Lombardy, Liguria and the Aosta Valley) and represent 58,000 sqm of store space and a 300 million euro turnover.
"This acquisition, consistent with Carrefour's multiformat strategy, will allow Carrefour to strengthen its presence in northern Italy", the Paris-based company said. The new stores are added to its current regional presence of 1,116 stores (57 Carrefour hypermarkets, 407 Market supermarkets, 633 Express convenience stores and 19 Cash & Carry locations). The difficult economic situation has impacted the turnover these stores managed last year: - 4.9 %.
Battle with Lidl for first place?
The Billa purchase is not Carrefour's first purchase over the past six months as it had already acquired 127 South European Kléppiere stores late last year in a deal worth 2 billion euro. Merely 10 days ago, Carrefour had also bought 800 French stores from discounter Dia for 600 million euro, buying back part of its former subsidiary.
Insiders believe these purchases are CEO Georges Plassat's attempt to fight off the rise of German discounter Lidl, reported to become Europe's largest supermarket chain by 2018. Georges Plassat seems intent on proving the report wrong.