Tesco chases Carrefour crown

Tesco is rapidly gaining on Carrefour in the race to become the leading retailer in Europe, according to research by Mintel.

Mintel's European Retail Rankings shows Tesco's sales have increased from less than two thirds of its French rival's two years ago, to almost three quarters in 2003/2004. Tesco is the second largest retailer in Europe and fourth in the world, while Carrefour is second globally behind Wal-Mart.

The survey showed 17 of the top performing European companies were food retailers, and half of the top 10 are German companies.

'An interesting point in the German market is that it is dominated by discounters,' said Mintel director of retail research Richard Perks. 'Discount formats have seen their sales improving in a declining retail market, while hypermarket and supermarket formats are struggling,'

According to Mintel, the other biggest movers were discounters, including Asda and Germany's Aldi and Lidl. In 2003/2004, Aldi is expected to have risen to fourth place in the European rankings.[QQ]