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Retail

When The ‘Future Of Shopping’ Came To A Town In South Wales

French retailer Carrefour crossed the channel to open its first store in the UK, fifty years ago today (13 September 1972). ESM editor Stephen Wynne-Jones looks back to when a small town in South Wales became a vision for the future of retail.

“Think of a supermarket – double it. Add a department store with clothes, furniture, hardware, refrigerators and television sets, all self-service. Then add restaurants and a snack bar, and car parking for 960 cars, and you’ve some idea of Britain’s first hypermarket.”
–ITV News Report, September 1972

For some, it was a glimpse at the future, while, for others, it was a devastating blow to local businesses. Either way, French retail giant Carrefour’s first UK hypermarket, in Caerphilly, South Wales, caused quite a stir when it opened its doors 50 years ago.

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