Carrefour France has decided to start an aggressive campaign today to win back the large number of customers that left the chain in the last few months. The main weapon is the distribution of 1.3 billion euro worth of cheques to anyone visiting a Carrefour hypermarket.
1.3 billion worth of cheques distributed
The principle is simple: 13 million visitors receive a booklet with 100 euro worth in coupons. Each week, two sections are chosen where customers receive a 10 euro reduction for any purchase larger than 30 euro – restricted to 20 euro per week. As the French school year is about to start, this week’s sections are school utensils and children’s clothing.
“We invest heavily to allow our customers to make purchases in these difficult economic circumstances – especially in such key moments like the start of a new school year”, says new CEO Noël Prioux. “We hope to raise customer retention by 2 or 3% in this period”.
“Back to school” campaigns
This action is only the beginning of the relaunch of Carrefour’s French hypermarkets, which started the year so disastrously and now really need to do every possible thing to compensate for that. “The start of the school year is a very important moment to show our new self to all of our customers”, says Prioux, knowing that exactly those terrible results on the French market have lost Prioux’s predecessor James McCann his job.
Carrefour already reduced prices for 500 ‘best sellers’ in food and 500 other products by 5 to 12%. Another measure, allowing customers to buy certain articles per piece instead of only in large volumes, immediately resulted in a better score for the hypermarkets this month, compared to last July.
“Save the hypermarkets”
Operation “save the hypermarkets”, absolute top priority according to Carrefour’s worldwide big chief Lars Olofsson, is finally taking off – about time, as sales were 0.4% lower than the year before and food sales even went down 1.7%.
Carrefour’s competitors in the hypermarket world Auchan also struggled in 2010 and Casino’s Géant hypermarkets – while harvesting a 3.5% increase in food sales – were also unable to stop the general trend of lower turnover. Only Leclerc and (supermarket chain) Système U are having a decent year – and even the latter had to admit that 2011 was “not such a good summer, mostly due to the weather”.