Carrefour Plans to Become The Brand

The following is an excerpt from a story in this past weeks Wall Street Journal that details the impending strategic redirection that French retailer Carrefour is undertaking. Chief Executive Lars Olofsson will transform Carrefour from a big box selling other companies’ brands into a compelling consumer Brand. And he wants those Private Brands to be the least expensive around, making Carrefour to groceries what IKEA Group is to furniture.

“What’s very important is price image,” Olofsson said. “If I’m the No. 1 preferred retaile, I’m the most likely to be the most profitable.” He plans to announce Thursday how much Carrefour will invest to overhaul its declining giant supercenters and focus on Carrefour-brand products. He will also offer details on a cost-saving stock-management system pioneered by the company in China.

A new branding and marketing team has been put in place to grow Private Brands, with managers hired from CPG’s like P&G and Reckitt Benckiser.

Carrefour’s Makeover Plan: Become IKEA of Groceries

PARIS—Carrefour’s old slogan promised “quality for all.” The France-based retailer vaunted its gourmet butter cookies and wide organic selection and kept sales high by raising prices.

Now Carrefour SA, the world’s second-largest retailer, after Wal-Mart Stores Inc., is undergoing a fundamental change in strategy. Chief Executive Lars Olofsson wants to transform Carrefour from a big box selling other companies’ brands into a consumer label in its own right. And he wants those in-house brands to be the least expensive around, making Carrefour to groceries what IKEA Group is to furniture. Carrefour’s new slogan: “The positive is back.”

“What’s very important is price image,” the Swedish native says in an interview in his ninth-floor office on the outskirts of Paris. “If I’m the No. 1 preferred retailer…I’m the most likely to be the most profitable.”

Mr. Olofsson, 58 years old, plans to announce Thursday how much Carrefour will invest to overhaul its declining giant supercenters and focus on Carrefour-brand products. Analysts expect the investment to total hundreds of millions of euros.

He will also offer details on a cost-saving stock-management system pioneered by the company in China.

The strategy is urgent because Carrefour has lost world-wide market share in its core supercenters for five straight years, according to research firm Euromonitor International, and risks losing its supremacy in its home market.

Read the entire story.



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Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan).

Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s.
Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago.

Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.