Carrefour is a large-scale retailer of groceries and consumer goods.

The company operates primarily in three formats namely hypermarkets, supermarkets and hard discount stores. Other channels of distribution include convenience stores, cash and carry foodservice stores and also the Carrefour online virtual supermarket. The company operates 6546 stores worldwide (as of December 2004). These include 794 hypermarkets, 1495 supermarkets and 3888 hard discount stores. Other channels of distribution include 194 convenience stores, 175 cash and carry stores, mini markets and food service stores. The company operates in 32 countries. Carrefour’s major markets include France, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Brazil, Argentina, Taiwan, Mexico, and Asia. The company operates its stores under 17 banners, including hypermarkets (Carrefour), supermarkets (Champion, GB, GS, Norte), convenience stores (8 á Huit, SHOPI, Marché Plus), hard discount stores (Dia%, Ed), cash-and-carry stores (Promocash), mini markets (PROXi) and food service stores (Prodirest). Other banners of the company include Puntocash, docks MARKET and Carrefour hypermarkets offer a wide range of food and non-food products and maintain a focus on competitive prices. The company’s hypermarkets stock an average of 70,000 items. Floor areas of hypermarkets range from 5000 square meters to over 20,000 square meters. At the end of 2004, the company has about 288 hypermarkets in European countries outside France, 157 in the Americas and 170 in Asia. Champion, GS, Norte and GB supermarkets offer a wide selection of mostly food products, again maintaining the company’s focus on competitive prices, in outlets with floor areas of 1000 to 2000 square meters. Hard discounters such as Dia and Ed stock 800 food products, at low prices, in small stores (from 200 to 800 square meters). Half of the products are sold under the Dia brand name. The company sells its products under various brands including Destination Saveurs, Firstline, Produit Carrefour, Reflets de France, Topbike, Filière Qualité Carrefour, Carrefour Bio, GB Bio, TEX, Souvenirs du Terroir, GB, GS, Escapade Gourmandes, Neufunk, Bout´chou, Cicérone and Dia.

Having established itself in countries all over the world, Carrefour bolstered its presence in its domestic market early in 2000, through a merger with the French grocery retailer Promodes. The deal enabled Carrefour to take control of the 6000 hypermarkets, supermarkets, convenience stores, and discount stores run by Promodes and thereby expand both in terms of product and service diversification and in its international operations. Later the same year Carrefour expanded its European presence by taking a major stake in the Italian company Gruppo Spa, making the company the second largest distributor in Italy. Carrefour also formed a partnership with Marinopoulos to become the top distribution group in Greece. The company also emerged as a major distribution company in Belgium by taking 100% control of GB. Another merger in 2000 that shaped Carrefour’s operations in Europe was the partnership between Carrefour and the Maus group, allowing Carrefour to take part in the Swiss retail market through a chain of hypermarkets, giving the company a presence in most major European countries.