NEW YORK -- French hypermarket operator Carre-four plans to add up to 36 international stores by the end of this year, more than half of which are targeted for South America and Mexico, said Herve Defforey, chief financial officer.
Ten stores are slated for Brazil, five for Argentina and five or six for Mexico. Eight to 10 units are planned for Asia (Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, Korea and Hong Kong). Europe (excluding France) stands to get five new stores: four for Spain and one for Italy.
Carrefour had opened 15 of the new stores as of Aug. 31: nine in South America and Mexico, four in Asia and two in Europe. The Paris-based company had 259 hypermarkets worldwide at the end of August, with 117 in France, 59 elsewhere in Europe (51 in Spain), 66 in South America (41 in Brazil) and Mexico, plus 17 in Asia.
"We will have opened three new markets in 1996: Thailand, Korea and Hong Kong," said Defforey, who spoke at a conference here by Arnhold & S. Bleichroeder Inc., New York, an international banking firm. "And we plan to open three new markets in 1997: Poland, Indonesia and Singapore. That will give us hypermarkets in 17 countries by the end of 1997."
Carrefour, the world's sixth-largest retailer, projects sales of $30 billion and net income of $600 million for 1996, Defforey said. Stores in France account for 62% of hypermarket sales, he said.
Hypermarkets outside France are managed by Carrefour in conjunction with minority partners, he noted. "We do not aim to export a French hypermarket to Brazil. We want to have a Brazilian hypermarket in Brazil and a Malaysian hypermarket in Malaysia," he explained. "We don't aim to have one unique model."
The retail giant has quickened its global expansion pace. It opened 24 international stores last year and plans more than 30 this year and more than 30 next year -- up from seven in 1993, Defforey said.
"We want to achieve significant market share in all the countries we are in. This is vital in getting the best purchasing power possible."
Responding to a question at the conference, Defforey said Carrefour has no plans to re-enter the U.S. market. "No, we won't enter the U.S. market today," he said, noting that such a move would require critical mass. Carrefour opened two hypermarkets in metro Philadelphia in 1987 and 1992 but closed both in late 1993.