Trying to counter the bad results of its huge hypermarkets, French distributor Carrefour has launched a smaller version in a shopping centre in Lyon. The 'mini-hypermarché' focuses on food and leaves branches like toys and IT products to other, specialised stores in the same shopping centre.
Miniature hypermarket or large convenience store?
Carrefour was forced to innovate as 'normal' hypermarkets, the group's flagships for so long, struggle with the global crisis and have lost 14% of turnover in the last four years. Three times smaller than its bigger brothers, the new store measures 4.385 square metres and holds 15.000 references - 3.000 less than a typical Carrefour hypermarket. Food makes up 90% of these references.
The new concept can also be viewed as a 'large convenience store': with the focus on vegetables and fruit, while additional important areas are reserved for meat, fish and prepared meals. As furniture is low and pathways wide, the general aim is to make shopping at Carrefour less of a boring duty, as French newspaper La Tribune notes.
Keeping the pressure off
Even though these mini-hypermarkets may well be very important for Carrefour's survival, the chain tries to keep the pressure off: "This is not a new concept, it is just a small hypermarket", says spokesman Bruno Lavaure, nor is it the first of this kind. That honour is for the Aubervillers store, that opened in 2011 and has been "rather successful" up to now.