Carrefour is continuing to expand in Georgia with the Carrefour City franchise, bringing more smaller-sized convenience stores closer to customers throughout the country.
The new concept caters to smaller neighborhoods across Georgia and offers quick and easy shopping options, Jerome Akel, Country Manager of Carrefour Georgia, says, adding that the company is giving opportunity to small retailers and owners of mini-markets to develop their businesses and grow together with Carrefour under the brand of Carrefour City.
“The Carrefour City brand will be extended in 2023 by franchising it. Today we are welcoming entrepreneurs to become partners of Carrefour in Georgia and to run Carrefour City stores with us with the best purchasing conditions, having the best loyalty program in Georgia which is My Club and to cope with the needs of the population. We are on board entrepreneurs with us in franchise”, Akel said.
Carrefour City stores have up to 4,000 products on the shelves and are located in an area of 150 to 300 square meters.
Carrefour City stores have already been opened in Tbilisi, Zestaponi, Zugdidi, Batumi, and Kutaisi cities of Georgia while Carrefour plans to expand the concept across the country with at least 50 new stores per year.
“The Carrefour City concept is developed to answer the daily shopping needs of the customers with a focus on fresh food, beverages, groceries and dairy products. Our purpose is to help the customers buy their immediate needs, or weekly needs in a few minutes time and at the best price next their homes at Carrefour City stores”, Akel said.
Golden Brand sat down with Akel to find out more about the future plans of Carrefour in Georgia and discuss the retail market development in the country.
Q. Could you please tell us about Carrefour’s progress in Georgia?
A. Today Carrefour is operating in ten cities of Georgia with different kinds of stores. We have hypermarkets in Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi, and Rustavi. We will be opening a hypermarket in Gori.
We also have supermarkets covering about 1,000-2,000 sq.m. where we sell approximately 15,000 items. We have supermarkets in Tbilisi, Poti, Telavi, Zugdidi, and Batumi.
Carrefour City is smaller than the supermarket where you can find all basic food, beauty, and hygiene products. On top of this we have a very rewarding loyalty program and promotions, and our teams are doing their best to treat customers with smiling faces and warm attitudes. All products under the Carrefour brand which are loved in Georgia will also be available at Carrefour City stores.
Q. You said Georgia is a “unique” country and also mentioned it is a “difficult market”. Overall, how would you evaluate the environment here for retailers?
A. During the pandemic we saw very strong involvement from our teams to keep the stores operating, while during the post-pandemic period we had to mobilize our people and purchasing teams on getting products, namely during the Ukraine conflict when many sources of products were coming from Ukraine and some parts of Russia. Last year was also challenging in getting new products with different origins.
What we have learned from the pandemic period is efficiency — we know how to work and make quicker decisions. We have seen the progress of e-commerce. I cannot say that many are astonished by the progress of e-commerce in Georgia; it represents less than 2% of the retail purchases. It’s not developing as fast as in other countries so far.
Q. Georgian customers have named Carrefour their favorite brand this year. What brought Carrefour this recognition, in your opinion?
A. One of the world’s largest hypermarket and supermarket brands, Carrefour — opened in Georgia by Majid Al Futtaim — has been a player in the Georgian market since 2012. Carrefour has provided Georgians with quality, variety and value; all contribute to making the difference for customers. Carrefour continues to innovate by combining price-competitiveness, convenience and enjoyment in order to provide an offering tailored to the expectations of each and every customer. Carrefour places customer satisfaction at the core of its business model.
Carrefour’s name is among the country’s largest investors and this is mostly due to the brand’s impressive contribution to the development of the Georgian economy and modern trade. Since its establishment the brand has brought a completely new, unbeatable trading experience to the country.
Carrefour brand food and non-food products and services fulfill the same criteria — a demand for quality and responsible products at a fair price. Carrefour’s ongoing efforts to support the growth and prosperity of communities they are part of is reflected through its contribution to the Georgian economy.
Before Carrefour came to Georgia there were few stores and especially hypermarkets. Carrefour’s entrance was a kind of “wake call” for local brands because we brought international experience to the country. Our employees have grown over the past ten years and offer their experience in the industry. We employ thousands of people in the country. As of today we have 4,500 direct employees, and 10,000 indirect employees. Every new store creates more jobs in the country.
We are raising the standard on the retail market of Georgia by meeting all international quality tests and standards. We even help some Georgian farmers involved in agro business to export food and vegetables, packed products, sometimes lamb, grapes, wine to other countries where Carrefour is operating.
Q. Golden Brand is given to the brands following the successful operations of the previous year. Please summarize the year 2022.
A. In 2022 Carrefour celebrated ten years in Georgia. During those years we gave our customers what they expected — high-quality products at affordable prices and fantastic promotions. It has become a tradition in Georgia to celebrate Carrefour’s anniversary by treating customers with special surprises to express gratitude for their trust and loyalty.
We have also expanded our presence in the country by opening many new stores.
In 2022, Carrefour implemented innovative marketing strategies using complex approach and innovative communication tools to establish deeper connections with its customer base and deliver a more personalized shopping experience.
Furthermore, Carrefour Georgia has implemented various charity projects throughout the year to support single mothers, kids with special needs, socially vulnerable families etc. with the aim of giving back to the community and making a positive impact on society. We have partnered with local and international organizations to ensure long-term sustainable projects for the communities we serve.
Q. What is the main reason behind Carrefour’s success in Georgia, in your opinion?
A. Carrefour's success in Georgia can be attributed to several factors, including its extensive product range, competitive pricing, convenient store locations, and strong brand recognition. Carrefour's ability to tailor its offerings to local consumer preferences and adapt to the Georgian market has also played a role in its success. Additionally, the company's investment in modern technology and customer-centered initiatives, such as loyalty programs, self-checkouts, etc., has helped it to stay ahead of the curve and meet the evolving needs of Georgian shoppers.