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As Carrefour looks to improve the experience for shoppers of its hypermarkets on a global basis, we round up developments from country operations as they look to make its largest store relevant for today and in the long term.

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As part of Carrefour’s corporate aim to adapt its model and organisation to be a leader in food transition for all, we look at initiatives and campaigns being launched by its operations across Europe.

Carrefour looks to limit consumption of plastic in Poland and Spain

Carrefour Poland is enabling shoppers at its Fordon Gallery store in Bydgoszcz to bring their own containers and bags to limit its use of plastic. Meanwhile the same initiative is being rolled out in Spain, under the #Reutiliza (#Reuse) name, following its launch at a Carrefour Market in Madrid. In the latter country, the initiative is available at 1,000 Carrefour Market stores.

Shoppers buying products like meat, cheese, cabbage, pickled cucumbers, fruit and vegetables can hand over transparent containers with lids, into which staff will put the items and add a label for scanning at the checkout. Separately it has said that by 2025 it is aiming to only use packaging that can be recycled or composted for its private label products.

Carrefour Romania to support farmers’ organic production

Carrefour Romania has launched a programme aimed at supporting sustainable agriculture in the country. The retailer said the five-year initiative would aim to help producers to approach organic certification bodies, support them in dealing with local authorities and help them accessing public financing.

Producers can either register their interest in being involved in the programme online or by visiting one of its hypermarkets. The support would be offered across three main areas:

  • to support farmers for implementing sustainable farming practices in their farms;
  • to build a coalition of stakeholders for the development of sustainable organic agriculture;
  • to engage media and influencers to promote the benefits of bio-farming in the country.

Carrefour to make deliveries with electric vehicles in Madrid

To cut its emissions from delivering online orders, Carrefour is set to use three-wheeled electric vehicles in Madrid. The retailer will use the vehicles, called Scoobic Light, which is 100% electric and uses solar panels for recharging. The Scoobic Light has been designated as a scooter, which means it can be parked in spaces for two-wheeled vehicles, making it highly practical for making deliveries in urban areas. The scooter can run for eight hours and carry 1,400 litres by volume.

Carrefour Italy joins ‘Too good to go’ initiative

Carrefour Italy has joined the ‘Too Good to Go’ initiative. The programme, which is run through an app used by more than eight million people across nine countries, sees food retailers and restaurants sell unsold food for a reduced price. The food is brought together by ‘Too good to go’ in Magic Boxes that sell for between €2 and €6. The app geolocates shoppers and searches for companies in their proximity that will be able to supply food ‘too good to be thrown away’.

Commenting on the step, Carrefour Italy said: “The proposal of practical solutions such as the Too Good To Go app makes it possible to accelerate the achievement of the objective of reducing food waste, a requirement that is not only social, but also environmental.”

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Lidl has launched innovative initiatives across Europe including a digital assistant and a pop-up garden. It also continues to develop some of its strategic private labels, such as Cien in Spain.

Lidl launches chatbot in Germany

With shoppers seeking faster access to information, Lidl has launched a new digital assistant in Germany. The chatbot, called LiA, is available via Facebook Messenger. Its aim is to provide customers with information about the weekly offers, location of the nearest stores, tracking status of orders or even career opportunities.

The chatbot will be continuously improved thanks to the knowledge acquired from conversations with users. To engage its shoppers more, Lidl invites them to decide LiA’s look, from two different designs via a voting campaign.


This is the second chatbot launched by the retailer. The first one, Margot the winebot, launched in the UK, helps shoppers to pick wine according to their needs and taste.

Lidl Belgium opens pop-up garden in Brussels’ train station.

Lidl opened, for a few days only, a pop-up garden in Brussels’ central train station to celebrate the beginning of spring. It is called Lidl Garden where commuters can rest while discovering the retailer’s garden assortment. It aims to promote the online shop,, where the 92 products of the range could be purchased. Smaller articles will also be available in stores over the next few weeks.

Source: Lidl Belgium

Strong growth plans for health and beauty at Lidl Spain

In Spain, Lidl launched a new communications plan to promote its beauty private label Cien. The focus is being put on the quality of its products and the expansion of the range, which stands at 150 SKUs.

New high-quality products such as a DNA anti-aging serum and Cien Nature, using natural ingredients will be introduced. Lidl claims it is the first supermarket to offer beauty products with high-quality active ingredients. It’s a strategic category for growth, in Spain private labels represent only 12% of the market.

For subscribers interested in understanding more about Lidl’s strategy, please have a look at our Strategic Outlook for 2019.

Spain-based Mercadona said it grew sales by 6% in 2018, generating €24.305bn in the year. Profits rose by 84% to €593m, which came despite the retailer investing €1.5bn in its network and operations.

Mercadona said it had invested €962m in store openings and renovations, €257m in the automation of its logistics platform, €225m in its digital transformation and €60m in its expansion into Portugal. Commenting on the results, Mercadona’s president, Juan Roig, said: “Mercadona is doing very well and this year will be even better”.

Investment in stores continues to pay off

Roig said the focus on the customer and improvements to its store estate were helping Mercadona to win. Given the success of its efficient store concept, with 400 updated during 2018, Mercadona will continue to roll out the design until 2023. During the timeframe the retailer will invest €10.0bn in its store network to improve and digitise them. In 2019 this will also see the opening of a further 60 stores, the closure of 100 more and the relocation of 400.

The investment is aimed at helping support Mercadona’s target of growing sales by 3.7% to €25.2bn in 2019. The retailer said it would invest €2.3bn in the year ahead, while its net profit was forecast to fall by 27% to €435m.

Expansion of ‘Ready to Eat’ sections

Following a successful launch and roll out, Mercadona will add its ready to eat ranges at 250 supermarkets. The range, which is made up of 35 dishes, has been rolled out to 17 stores in Valencia, Madrid and Barcelona. Mercadona has invested €5.0m in the range to date. Roig said the step was necessary as ‘the food of the 20th century will not exist in the middle of the 21st century’. The retailer is actively looking for suppliers to support the range’s expansion as it does not have the scale to meet expected demand.

While online investment will be sustained

Following investment in the channel, Mercadona said it generated a monthly turnover of €2.2m online, an increase of 120%. Despite the growth in sales, Roig admitted the retailer ‘does not make a profit [from the channel]’.

The service, which is available in 134 postal codes in the province of Valencia, has seen the volume of orders double since its launch and expansion. Roig said in 2019 The retailer will launch a new model for grocery ecommerce in Barcelona, while this will be added in Madrid at the end of the year or in early 2020. After that the system will be extended to Zaragoza, Alicante, La Coruña, Bilbao, Murcia, Seville, Las Palmas and Palma de Mallorca.

Regional expansion is next on the list

Starting in 2019, Mercadona will begin to expand outside Spain. The first of 10 stores will be opened in Portugal, in Porto initially, and expanded to Lisbon later. Mercadona has already acquired sites for a further 10 stores and is aiming to operate around 150 in the next seven or eight years.

Without giving a timeframe, Roig said the retailer was interested in expanding into Italy. In both cases, Portugal and Italy, the retailer ruled out buying any local chains to quicken the pace of expansion.

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We review Ocado's current performance, its growth forecasts for the next five years, plus progress against key strategic objectives.

Included in this report:

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  • Ocado's strategy
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  • Ocado Smart Platform innovations
  • Ocado's fulfilment and delivery operations
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Europe is often overlooked and dismissed as a low, slow growth region. However, our in-depth look at key countries, such as Russia, Germany, and the UK, and their expansion opportunities shows how the region is set to enjoy good growth to 2023. For nimble retailers and suppliers Europe should remain a focus for profitable growth.
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