Global Retail Giant Carrefour to Set Up Stores in Israel

The move, which comes via a franchising agreement with an Israeli firm, comes after years of attempts to bring international food chains into the country

A Carrefour location in Nantes, France
A Carrefour location in Nantes, FranceCredit: STEPHANE MAHE/רויטרס

French supermarket chain Carrefour will establish a presence in Israel, said Electra Consumer, an Israeli firm that has signed a memorandum of understanding to franchise the chain in the country – marking the most significant progress thus far in years-long efforts to bring international food chains into the country.

As part of the move, Electra announced Sunday, it will soon shutter its Israeli Yeinot Bitan and Mega supermarket chains just six months after purchasing them, with the intention of opening Carrefour stores in their place.

The franchise agreement with Carrefour is set to be for 20 years, with the possibility of extending it for another 20. Both firms are working toward signing a binding agreement by April.

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Carrefour is the largest retailer in Europe, operating about 14,000 branches in 40 countries across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, East Asia and Africa. Last year it booked total sales of 81.2 billion euros.

Carrefour’s first Israel branches are set to open by the end of 2022, per Electra's announcement, and within the following three years the company plans to convert more than 150 Yeinot Bitan Mega locations to Carrefour-branded stores, alongside the opening of new Carrefour locations.

For the time being, Electra will take the Carrefour name and will be able to import its private-label products into Israel at low prices. However, it has a long way to go in terms of operations, positioning and marketing.

The company will need to fundamentally renovate its neglected branches, entailing an investment of millions of shekels per branch, depending on size. It will also need to make a separate investment of more than 400 million shekels in order to bring Carrefour into the Israeli consumer consciousness and to kasher the private-label products (some of which are already kosher), which number more than 10,000 products total – a process that may take a number of months.

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