According to Pierre Bertholat, vice president for Carrefour China and president for Carrefour South China, the company plans to open five to ten new stores in South China cities, including Guangzhou and Shenzhen, in 2009.
Although its has not opened any new stores in Guangzhou for two years, Carrefour has not stopped its expansion in the South China market. So far, the retailer has 27 stores in Guangdong Province.
Bertholat said the five to ten new stores will be located in such Chinese provinces as Yunnan, Hainan, and Guangdong. Although Carrefour previously acquired a 25% stake in Jiaguang Supermarket from GrandBuy, the acquisition has not been completed. So it is still unclear under which brand the new stores will be opened.
Regarding the worldwide financial turmoil, Bertholat said Carrefour was not too affected, because the products sold in its stores are mainly daily commodities. However, the company will still take active economy measures, including promoting energy-saving stores and directly purchasing from local farmers, in addition to launching a large-scale promotion in the upcoming Spring Festival in China.
As one of the first foreign supermarkets that implemented direct purchase from farmers, Carrefour is ever enlarging the product range of its purchases. At present, fresh agricultural products directly purchased from local Chinese farmers account for 20% to 30% of the agricultural products sold in Carrefour's stores in China and the proportion will be further increased to 50% in 2009. The direct purchase model can help increase the income of farms by 30% to 40% as well as cutting Carrefour's costs by simplifying the supply chain.