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Carrefour Easy store opens inside Suning branch as brands continue to merge

Convenience-store Carrefour Easy has opened inside Chinese retailer Suning.com’s Shanghai Zhongshan store, marking the latest step towards integrating the two retail businesses.

With sales areas ranging from 100sqm to 250sqm, Carrefour Easy has been building a network of standalone convenience stores in China since 2015. 

The launch inside a Suning store marks the latest development for the business since Suning acquired an 80-per-cent equity stake in Carrefour China last September for US$689.2 million, part of a move by Suning to accelerate the expansion of its brick-and-mortar portfolio into a full-scenario retail model.

“This is a key step to Suning’s Smart Retail Plan,” said Suning.com chairman Jindong Zhang at the time of the acquisition. “FMCG experience and supply chain capabilities can be integrated with Suning’s full-scenario retail model, solid logistics network and advanced technology. With our smart retail capabilities, Suning can transform Carrefour stores into fully integrated online-and-offline supermarkets to meet evolving consumer demands.”

Suning then announced five long-term strategies of Carrefour China, including digitalising Carrefour’s physical stores, improving current store models, expanding to lower-tier cities with Suning’s Retail Cloud Franchise Store, integrating with Suning’s convenience store, and opening new stores in the existing market.

Suning’s home appliances stores opened in more than 200 Carrefour stores the day after the purchase. In early November, Suning Finance integrated Carrefour’s finance system so customers in Carrefour stores could pay with their Suning Finance account.

In mid-November, Carrefour participated in the single’s day event (Nov 11) for the first time, with all of Suning’s business segments. Additionally, some Carrefour stores in Nanjing and Shanghai built quick-picking warehouses, storing approximately 3000 SKUs, with customers placing their orders online through Suning’s Convenience Store app, Carrefour Mini WeChat program and third-party platforms.

At China International Import Expo, as a purchaser and exhibitor, Carrefour signed 150 million-RMB purchase contracts. At the end of November, the Italian Trade Agency visited Carrefour China and negotiated the import of Italian products through Carrefour’s supply chain.

On Black Friday, Carrefour’s online flagship store opened on Suning.com, focused on selling high value imports with delivery services channeled through Suning Logistics.

In the future, Suning.com will pursue more offline integration with Carrefour China. Other than home appliance stores, Carrefour stores will also incorporate other Suning business models, including in the mother-infant category, sports retailing and movie theatres.

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