French retail giant Carrefour is re-entering the Bulgarian market through a sub-franchising partnership with Greek franchise partner Retail & More, according to media reports.
Retail & More is spearheading Carrefour's return to Bulgaria. It is in talks with several large Bulgarian retailers, including Parkmart Holding, a Bulgarian chain of 20 supermarkets and an online store for food products and household goods in the high-end segment.
The plan is to open at least 20 Carrefour stores in Bulgaria, according to a statement from the French retailer quoted by the Agence France-Presse (AFP) and BTA news agencies.
Carrefour In Bulgaria
Carrefour had previously attempted to enter the Bulgarian market in 2009 through KMB, a unit of Marinopoulos Group.
However, this venture faced bankruptcy in 2016 following a failed merger with AP Mart's Piccadilly supermarket chain and accumulated losses of BGN 183 million (€93.6 million) since 2011.
Despite this setback, Carrefour is confident that its new sub-franchising strategy will be successful, and is aiming to enter ten new franchise markets by 2026.
Carrefour is also strengthening its presence in other Eastern European countries. In October 2023, Carrefour acquired 19 Cora stores in Romania from Belgian retailer Louis Delhaize. These stores will also be rebranded as Carrefour stores.
Retail & More will soon have 50 Carrefour-branded stores in Greece, according to CEO Vassilis Stassinoulias.
At the end of 2022, Carrefour was present in over 40 countries, in eight of which the chain operates all or most of its stores.
These countries include France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Poland, Romania, Brazil, and Argentina. France, Spain, and Brazil account for more than 80% of its total sales.
The French chain is increasingly relying on the franchise model, which entrusts the management of stores to a third party.