Best bits: Carrefour swings back into profit
Carrefour's reinvention attempts took on new vigour as it launched two Carrefour 'Planet' stores in France last week. The company said the test stores have been redesigned and adapted to customers' needs in a bid to deliver "a new experience of shopping comfort, ease and pleasure".
Instead of moving away from an 'everything under one roof' policy, which many analysts believe has contributed to the format's lagging sales in the country, the new outlets have broadened their offer to include cooking classes, alterations and a hairdressing salon. See the outlet in pictures here.
Today, the world's second largest retailer swung back into profit during the first half, however, its results were still hampered by weaker performances in its European operations. Growth during Carrefour's first half was driven again by strong performances in its emerging markets.
Marks and Spencer appeased the City on Monday with the announcement that it has appointed Robert Swannell to replace Sir Stuart Rose as chairman next year. While Rose's large personality will be missed at the company's AGMs, Swannell has a considerable reputation in the City, with over 30 years of investment banking experience with Schroders/Citigroup.
Like Carrefour, Tesco also launched a tweaked format last week, becoming the first UK retailer to trial a click-and-collect concept. The format has been a somewhat successful means to reinvigorating the hypermarket format in France, however, Tesco's iteration of the format lacks much of the sophistication of its Continental counterparts.
Canadian convenience operator Couche-Tard posted record net earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2011, up 43% against the same quarter of the previous year. However its continued attempts to acquire Iowa-based Casey's General Stores were dealt a heavy blow when the US company completed its latest round of defences in the form of its modified "Dutch auction" self tender offer.
Looking to the confectionery sector, Mars announced that it is reformulating its chocolate bars to reduce the saturated fat in them by 15%. Brand reformulation is a dangerous game that, if it backfires, can have long lasting impacts on manufacturers' brands. However, Mars' deep investment in this change gives the industry reason to believe this will not be another 'new Coke'.
Nestlé revealed last week that it has opened two premium chocolate production lines in Russia to produce its premium brand Comilfo chocolate. Michelle Russell explored the tricky environment for the chocolate industry in Russia last week and found rising raw material prices and the downturn in the economy have led to weak growth and a loss of consumer confidence in the industry.
Meanwhile, Swiss chocolatier Lindt and Sprüngli posted a strong first half due to increased volumes and innovation.
Dean Best is currently on holiday.
Aside from the soundbites from the CAGNY investment conference in Florida this week, the last five days have been rounded out with results from Wal-Mart Stores, Kerry Group and Safeway Inc....
Canadian retailer Loblaw has appointed Carrefour executive Vicente Trius to succeed Allan Leighton as president of the business....
Carrefour, the world's second-largest retailer, has opened its first Carrefour Express store in Colombia....
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