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Friday, October 12, 2012

Carrefour focuses on cooperation with Georgian suppliers

by Baia Dzagnidze

11.10.2012. The opening of the new  triggered great interest among customers. The 25 million Lari investment store boasts the cheapest prices in town and offers weekly sales and discounts on various products. Georgia Today asked the Carrefour General Manager Jean Louis Clary to talk about the current situation, the ongoing auctions and the immediate agenda of the hypermarket.

Q: How did the idea to enter the Georgian retail market come about?

A: Carrefour in Georgia is MAF Carrefour, which is a joint venture between Carrefour Group in France and Majid Al Futtaim Group in Dubai. MAF Carrefour started operating 15 years ago in Dubai and later on began to expand and develop its circle. We chose Georgia because it’s in the Caucasus region and is a great country to start a business in.

Q: How many countries does Carrefour Group have stores and chains?

A: Between Carrefour and MAF Carrefour, we are speaking of almost 50 countries, with hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenient stores in some countries.

Q: What were the expectations before opening the hypermarket in Georgia?

A: Before opening any store in a new country, we do a surveillance study showing the possibility and the potential for our products. The study also gives us ideas for the market itself and how to proceed with our business in the beginning and in the future.

Q: There are many companies on the Georgian retail market. So what makes Carrefour so special?

A: I think the choices we offer and our price. The price is one of the main duties of a hypermarket and especially for Carrefour – to have the cheapest and most affordable prices on the market is the main goal.

Q: How do you maintain such a competitive price?

A: It’s very simple. We are negotiating with wholesalers, because we are selling a large quantity and a high volume in our stores. We, the entire group, have very good relations with the big suppliers within the whole world due to this volume. On the other hand, we are fighting inside the store against any kind of useless expense, which helps us to keep low prices. Buying huge quantity from the suppliers helps us to keep the price down.

Q: Do you feel the big competition between Carrefour and Goodwill?

A: Of course, since we are different company we do have a competition. But I think there is space for everybody.

Q: Have you had good success since the opening…

A: Yes, the number of customers is increasing every day which is very satisfying. However, there are some people who still don’t know that we opened, but in time the number will grow even more.

Q: What is the percentage of Georgian products sold at Carrefour?

A: In a store like this, we have almost 30 to 35 thousand items. This time we should have about 3,000 Carrefour products, roughly. We should have around 7 to 9 thousand imported items and the rest are Georgian products. The reason of this is that we want to focus on Georgian industry and its development. For example, apples are coming from Marneuli, Georgian wine Elibo is specifically bottled for Carrefour. We are trying to develop good business relationships with Georgian companies; for now we are collaborating with more than 250 suppliers in Georgia and we are sure that this number will grow.

Q: There are several sales in the store. What products are on special discount this week?

A: For now three important products– sugar, buckwheat and oil are offered with special prices. This is an extra promotion that we do in every country. Our main duty on a daily basis is to be the cheapest on the market, while negotiating with the suppliers we might get the opportunity to have extra discounts. For example, sugar was already discounted by 5 percent was 1.85 Lari before and today, we offer it for 1.45 Lari. This is one of our strategies: to give the customer the very best price. These kinds of offers will be present each week on different products throughout the whole year.

Q: What are the new products nowadays in the store that you offer to the customers?

A: There are many new things in the store: a fruit counter with freshly packaged slices, special Georgian oven [Tone] for baking very good and tasty Shoti bread, we have fresh fish coming from Holland, natural milk from the Kakheti region renewed every day, big varieties of cheese from different countries, alcohol and many Carrefour products itself coming from different countries but specifically from France.

Q: What are Carrefour’s other plans in Georgia?

A: We worked quite long on development and are just about to sign two other projects in Tbilisi. We are going to establish a strong base in the capital and then expand to other cities like Batumi, Kutaisi, and probably Telavi in quite the near future.

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