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Carrefour Planet gets go-ahead

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PARIS — Carrefour SA has begun the rollout of its new hypermarket format, Carrefour Planet.

Carrefour SA has begun the rollout of its new hypermarket format, Carrefour Planet.

The launch began last month with an edited version of the format that debuted in Mons, Belgium, followed by openings this month in four locations in France: Was­quehal, Tourville-La Rivière, Givors and Les Ulis. More openings will follow in Italy and Greece.

The Carrefour Planet concept, first unveiled last September after pilot projects were completed in France and Spain, incorporates a new store design featuring wider aisles, lower fixturing, softer lighting and new signage graphics to make store navigation easier.

The store layout allows customers to choose between a quick trip that enters directly into the food section or a full shopping experience beginning in the nonfood area.

Full-scale Carrefour Planets are organized around nine departments, or zones.

The Market Zone offers fresh food in a marketplace atmosphere enlivened by promotional activities and events, such as sampling of regional products. Special services including cooking lessons, slicing of fresh fruit and vegetables, and preparation of seafood platters are also available.

The Organic Zone offers a wide variety of organic products, including national brands and Carrefour’s own Bio brand. The Frozen Foods Zone, meanwhile, offers a simple shopping path with products organized into different areas that follow the order of a traditional meal.

In the nonfood area, the Beauty Zone has been completely remodeled to offer a wide range of beauty brands and products as well as such innovative services as a dry haircut in 10 minutes for 10 euros and a virtual makeup consultation.

The Fashion Zone, meanwhile, offers a wide array of men’s, women’s and children’s apparel in a boutique atmosphere heightened by innovative fixturing. A free alterations service is also offered.

The Baby Zone is a comprehensive store-within-a-store that brings together all baby and infant care categories, ranging from diapers and clothing to food and accessories. The section is staffed by advisors who can help shoppers with their needs, and it also provides a dedicated checkout.

The Home Zone combines storage products and housewares
in an innovative fashion, organized by color, into four areas: kitchen and table, home decoration, everyday home, and home equipment.

The Media Zone, offering electronics, mobile phones and entertainment media, features a “zone contact” counter where customers can consult specialized sales personnel and pay directly for purchases.

Finally, the Seasonal Zone, with around 20,000 square feet extending from the entrance on the nonfood side to the rear of the store, provides an ever-changing promotional area organized around seven major seasons with a total of 28 events per year.

According to a presentation for analysts given last September, Carrefour reengineered the space allocated to the different departments in creating the Planet format. Beauty was expanded by 40%, and the organic section by 200%. The home department, on the other hand, was reduced by 15% and fashion by 12%.

According to executives, the company is on track to have a total of 98 Carrefour Planets open by the end of 2011, including 42 in France, 40 in Spain, 10 in Belgium, four in Italy and two in Greece. A total of 241 are slated to debut by the end of 2013, including 120 in France.

Carrefour ultimately intends to convert 241, or 45%, of its hypermarkets in Western Europe to the Carrefour Planet format.
In reporting its first quarter sales last month, Carrefour pointed out that average sales of the six pilot stores have increased 6.2% since their reopening, with sales and customer traffic up 9.9% at the last four pilot locations.


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