All too often, you get to see a ‘concept’ store from which you are told ‘learnings’ will be extracted

Perhaps they are but, more often than not, it is hard to see where these form any part of what follows when further branches are opened. Refreshing, therefore, to travel to one of Paris’ less-favoured northern suburbs to visit a new Carrefour supermarket that has taken large elements of the Planet formula that was trialled in two locations in Lyon last year.

The store is the anchor for Le Millénaire, a new shopping centre that opened on April 27 in the unfavoured Aubervilliers district that, for many, is a stop on the way to Charles de Gaulle airport. At 40,000 sq ft, this is not a big store but it takes three of the departments trialled in Lyon - food, beauty and baby - and creates discrete shop-in-shops for each of them within the envelope of the store itself. The encouraging part is that each of these bears a very close resemblance to the Lyon prototype.

Clearly Carrefour has done the value engineering exercise and come up with a version that is appropriate to a very urban setting with signage, department size and the display equipment all bearing close comparison to the original.

Aubervilliers is a very mixed part of Paris and Carrefour has taken this into account with a large area devoted to world foods. It is the market area of the store that still impresses, however, and, if you want to see a good stab at bringing a slice of an outdoor market indoors, then this is about as good an example as there is in the supermarket arena.

Carrefour may be on to something.