Atacadao, the Brazilian discount subsidiary of Carrefour, sets up in Aulnay-sous-Bois

With this first point of sale, intended for both individuals and professionals, Carrefour is giving itself “between six and eight months to understand if the model is good”.

A Brazilian brand in the Paris suburbs. The Carrefour group inaugurated its first store in France under the Atacadao brand on Thursday in Aulnay-sous-Bois (Seine-Saint-Denis).

The 10,000 square meter pilot store, in place of a hypermarket in the gigantic O’Parinor shopping center, near Le Bourget airport, attracted dozens of customers from the opening.

Present at the inauguration, the CEO of the Carrefour group, Alexandre Bompard, believes that this store represents “the best response to inflation”. The manager praised a range of products “at prices that are not found in France”, and a type of brand adapted to “popular areas” and professionals.

“We hope to achieve around 30% of our turnover” via professionals, who will benefit from prices different from those of the public, explains Noël Prioux, the executive director in charge of the development of Atacadao in France, targeting restaurants for example. Italian or Asian.

Prices 10 to 15% cheaper

Significant work had to be carried out, in particular to reinforce the floor of the store due to the large volumes stored. Small independent businesses, restaurants, hotels and even associations are in fact targeted by Atacadao, which must be able to respond to their requests.

Alexandre Bompard also indicated “focusing on certain categories to respond to purchasing power constraints such as drugstores, hygiene, cleaning products”.

Between 13,000 to 20,000 food items, depending on the time of year, will be sold in this store at prices 10 to 15% cheaper, with 70% French products and 25% Carrefour brands. The model is simple: few promotions, little marketing and low distribution costs. For good reason, the products are displayed on pallets.

Morning Retail: Carrefour launches Atacadão in France – 21/06

An offer adapted to the French market

At the opening on Thursday, Alexandre Bompard insisted on the presence of fresh products, a bakery and a butcher’s shop in the store to underline Atacadao’s adaptation to “French identity”.

Noël Prioux also highlights these few differences which have been designed for French customers. “We are much richer in overall assortment than Brazil,” he explains.

The origin of the assortment also differs from what is practiced in the Latin American country, where Atacadao mainly sells local products.

“There, I am not sure that we have Brazilian products in the assortment and we also sell our own brand, while Brazil does not do so,” specifies the manager.

Carrefour is giving itself “between six and eight months to understand if the model is good”, without specifying a turnover objective, before considering opening other stores in this format. Noël Prioux, however, indicates that he has already “identified cities where a location could be interesting”.

Criticisms of the social model

The establishment in Aulnay-sous-Bois, a first in Europe, is not exempt from criticism of the social model, coming from the distributor’s union organizations.

According to the CFDT, the store which reopened under the Atacadao brand was leased and managed in July 2022 and its management was entrusted to the LabelVie group. The latter had announced internally “the reduction of the store by 6,000 m2 and the elimination of 96 positions”, according to a communication from the CFDT dating from September 2023.

Noël Prioux confirmed that the management of the store was managed with LabelVie, a franchisee who has already set up stores under this brand in Morocco. According to him, the store will employ “around 120 to 130 employees”, or “around fifty” less than in a hypermarket of equivalent size.

The services branch of the CFDT has taken Carrefour to court “for abusive practice of rental management and franchising”, accusing it of having outsourced more than 300 stores and 23,000 employees to date by entrusting management to franchisees .

Alexandre Bompard recently defended this policy allowing Carrefour not to close stores, in an “extraordinarily difficult” context under “competitive pressure” from discount specialists “whose social model has nothing to do with ours”.

Eva Jacquot with Nina Le Clerre with AFP

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