French international grocery retailer Carrefour has announced plans to open a one-off premium superstore in Paris within a year.

French international grocery retailer Carrefour has announced plans to open a one-off premium superstore in Paris within a year. The company confirmed the existence of “a project in the district of La Madeleine, with a gourmet positioning, to adapt to the catchment area”. The store, called ‘Les Halles de la Madeleine’, will occupy a sales area of 37,674 sq ft (3,500 sq m) and could be opened within a year, according to local officials quoted by La Tribune. According to the newspaper, it will be a “delicatessen store” offering fresh, organic produce, an extensive wine section and premium Carrefour products.

Les Halles de la Madeleine will be located next to famous delicatessen stores Fauchon and Hédiard, which have been operating in the capital since the late 19th century on Place de la Madeleine. This area is one of the most expensive locations in Paris.

The decision by Carrefour to open a format dedicated to fine foods is likely to have been influenced by Carrefour shareholder Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of luxury conglomerate LVMH. However, the store has had its critics because it is a real direction change in strategy for the French grocery retailer. For the past decade, Carrefour has been concentrating on revitalising its flagging French hypermarket division, a part of the business which saw like-for-like sales decline by 3.3% in the most recent quarter. The retailer has looked to counteract the difficulties facing its big box stores by converting them to the Carrefour planet concept and investing in price, with limited success.

Nevertheless, the creation of Les Halles de la Madeleine does have some points in its favour. Firstly, Carrefour has not used its name for the concept because it does not want to jeopardise its pricing image among French consumers. Secondly, Place de la Madeleine is known as the Parisian destination for luxury food shopping and the store should therefore benefit from a high tourist footfall.

Carrefour has experience in the delicatessen sector as it offers deli counters in some of its more upmarket stores, such as the Porte d’Auteuil outlet in Paris. It benefits from an offering of premium and regional private label products, which are sold in its regular stores.

However, Les Halles de la Madeleine will face competition from Fauchon and Hédiard. Both brands distribute to luxury food halls around the world and for this reason it is uncertain whether the Carrefour premium brand will cut the mustard with tourists.

  • Isabel Cavill, analyst, Planet Retail. For more information contact us on:

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