French retail giant Carrefour has officially introduced Carrefour Easy, a new supermarket brand in Europe that places a major emphasis on fresh produce as part of a simplified offer that will attract shoppers making quick, daily visits.
In doing so, it has also emphasised what it sees as growing demand for a new type of supermarket: a smaller, more convenient place to do a daily shop, but one which offers something beyond the established convenience store format with its high prices and limited ranges.
With the opening of two Easy stores in Belgium, the company said it wanted to establish neighbourhood supermarkets as a fourth variation on its Carrefour brand, somewhere between its current Express and Market formats in terms of size (between 400m2 and 800m2), and offering fresh food as well as fast and convenient service.
“As the name suggests,” it said, “Easy essentially offers fresh products that people can quickly and easily buy every day. With this unique concept, Carrefour meets demand from customers eager to consume more fresh produce without paying too much.”
The new stores’ ranges consist largely of fresh products – including fruits and vegetables, meat, fish and a wide selection of fresh breads baked in store – as well as dry goods and a limited selection of non-food items such as household goods and personal hygiene products.
Easy will offer plenty of price promotions, adapted to local demand, the group said. Opening hours will be “extensive” and include Sundays, something it said would fit in with the needs of its customers.
The format is not making its international debut in Belgium, however: Carrefour has so far opened 16 such outlets in China, where it has been developing the concept since 2014.
In Europe, it has been testing the concept for almost two years, it revealed. With two Easy stores now open in Anwtwerp and Sint-Kwintens-Lennik, the retailer is understood to be planning around a hundred across Belgium, with six more due to open before the end of the year.