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As Carrefour phases out the Easy banner in Belgium, commits to reducing its private label packaging in Poland and expands in Romania, we round up news from the retailer.

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We look at how Ahold Delhaize-owned Albert Heijn is making its private label chocolate traceable, while Carrefour Poland forms a coalition to promote organic farming.

Albert Heijn invests in traceability

Albert Heijn has partnered with Switzerland-based chocolate maker Barry Callebaut to make its private label chocolate traceable. The partnership reflects the growing interest in ethical sourcing, with both companies suggesting the buying raising industry standards. The companies have said the sourcing will provide a living income for farmers.

From March 2019, Albert Heijn will source cocoa for its private label ‘Delicata’ from Tony's Chocolonely's partner cooperatives in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. The cocoa will be based on the five sourcing principles of Tony’s ‘open chain’, which helps to achieve a transparent supply chain. Jeroen Hirdes, who is responsible for chocolate sourcing at Albert Heijn, explained, “The new Delicata chocolate will have the yellow-orange label with the open chain Tony's uses to indicate to consumers it was sourced sustainably”.

Carrefour Poland forms coalition

Carrefour Poland has formed a coalition with the EKOLAN association, the Polish Chamber of Organic Food and Warsaw University of Life Sciences. It has been named ‘the coalition for the development of the bio-food market’ and will promote organic farming across Poland.

Christophe Rabatel, president of Carrefour Poland, commented, “As a member of the coalition, Carrefour wants to support farmers through direct cooperation, our know-how, logistics and extensive infrastructure of almost 900 stores. We will also continue to educate Polish clients in the field of healthy nutrition”.

Research has shown organic farming in Poland is declining, with only 500,000 hectares of land being used. However, the demand for organic food is high and largely met through imports. Rabatel added, “Today's consumer is more and more aware of the impact of nutrition on health, and our mission is to offer him the products he or she is looking for and needs”.

Subscribers can read our global trends for 2019 where we highlighted how doing good is good business and how we believe retailers and brands will look to differentiate through initiatives like these.

Netherland-based, variety discounter Action has experienced strong growth over the last 12 months.

As part of the quarterly results announcement from Action’s private equity owners, 3i, the company revealed sales had been driven by the opening of 257 new stores and the relocation/refurbishing of a further 50 during the year to 30 September 2018.

The new stores use some of the updated layouts and displays trialled in pilot stores we visited earlier this year. The total number of stores operated by Action is now 1,235 across seven countries.

New distribution centres to meet the growing demand

Supply chain and product availability have been real challenges for Action and had a direct impact on like-for-like (LFL) sales. This saw it report LFL growth of 3% in its three main markets; The Netherlands, France and Germany.

Action continues to expand the number of distribution centres (DC’s) (five currently) with three more due to open in 2019 and a further three to be opened in the following 18 months to keep up with the demand. The group took the decision to postpone the opening of 20 stores in France, initially planned for Q4 2018, to Q1 2019 in order to manage stock levels during the peak of sales period of December.

One-year anniversary in Poland

In October, Action celebrated its one-year anniversary in Poland, where it now operates 15 stores. In the meantime, the construction of the first distribution centre in the country has begun. It should support Action’s continued expansion and maintain its dynamic development in the Polish market. The distribution centre, once built, will be Action’s eighth and will offer a strategic location to support the supply of products in both Germany and Poland.

Want to find out more on the discount channel globally? Visit our hub page to find more news and insight on what is occurring around the world.

Carrefour Poland has opened its first Media Markt electronics corner inside one of its hypermarkets, according to reports by Wiadomosci Handlowe. The retailer will open a dozen shop-in-shops initially, with the view to opening more if successful.

The Media Markt corner is 800 sq. m…

The first Media Markt corner has been opened in a Carrefour hypermarket in the Warsaw Wilenska shopping centre, with a second corner expected to open in its hypermarket in Lódz soon.

The 800 sq. m. Media Markt corner offers an assortment selected to meet customers’ needs. The corner also features a service desk and a collection point for online orders.

…and replaces Carrefour’s electronics department

The Media Markt corners replace Carrefour’s electronic department, which the retailer has said have become less popular as buying has moved online. The agreement helps Carrefour to deal with two intertwined issues: stores’ underutilised sales area and the associated costs of staffing and maintaining the areas too. Media Markt will pay rent for the leased space and as a specialist brand should help to increase sales in the category.

Step echoes partnership in France

Carrefour recently introduced Darty corners to two of its hypermarkets in France, which mirrors the steps it is taking with Media Markt in Poland. The step in France and now Poland is part of the retailer’s 2022 transformation plan, which had it set out to become ‘more open to partnerships, growth levers and innovation’ and to ‘achieve productivity and competitiveness gains’.

The question now will become, with Carrefour and Media Markt also both operating in Belgium, Italy and Spain if the working relationship proves successful in Poland, where else could it be exported to? Both retailers are facing similar challenges in many of their markets, with online gaining share in consumer electronics and stores coming under pressure, the need to operate as many as each does in many markets is declining.

As such, it could be a solution that gets rolled more widely across Europe, which could support both retailer’s profitability in the region by helping make selling space more productive.

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03/12/2018
We review the outlook for Auchan in all its operations around the world. We look at how it is embedding its Vision 2025 strategy and looks to improve the efficiency of its operations at national and global levels. We also look at the retailer's evolving strategy for international markets and its five year growth prospects.
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Poundland has been through a significant period of change over the last few years, both at a corporate and store level. In this report we review Poundland’s latest strategic priorities as it continues to grow, and the implications of these for suppliers.
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We explore how retailers around the world are meeting the growing demand for organic products. Our research focuses on regions where the organic sector is not yet well established, but has great potential for growth. We use examples from retailers operating in Asia and Central and Eastern Europe.
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This in-depth guide to Poland explores the key trends in grocery retail and the growth strategies of the leading retailers in the country.

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