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A Very Large “Crossroads”

April 19, 2012

The second largest retail store company in the world after Wal-Mart is Carrefour which means “crossroads” in French, alluding to the opening of its first store near a crossroads in Annecy, France. Unlike Wal-Mart which was started by one man, Carrefour was formed by the Fournier and Defforey families in 1959.

By 1963, the company opened the first hypermarket in France. Like other leading retail store companies it came up with concepts that were new in their countries keeping themselves ahead of the pack. While internal growth was a key feature in Carrefour’s rise to become a very large retail company, merger also played an enormous role. In 1999, it merged with another very large retail entity, Promodes. This move made Carrefour the largest retail enterprise in Europe and the second-largest in the world.

To capture as much of the retail market, the company segmented its business.  There is Carrefour for hypermarkets; Carrefour Markets for supermarkets; City, Express for convenience stores; and Promocash for cash-and carry outlets.

Carrefour does business in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. It’s present in around 35 countries with over 15,600 stores of various kinds.  Not bad of a company that started near a crossroads.

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