Carrefour has opened its first hypermarket in Bulgaria, the French retail giant announced today (25 March).

The store, which Carrefour sells 50,000 food and non-food lines, is based in the Black Sea city of Burgas.

The hypermarket’s layout is new to the Bulgarian consumer, Carrefour insisted. “It has a food corner; zones for chocolate items, cosmetics and beauty consultants. The hot buffet offers typical Bulgarian dishes prepared in the hypermarket and there is a place for eating,” the company told just-food.

Working with local suppliers is also part of the hypermarket’s concept, Carrefour said, pointing to draught wine from Bulgarian producers on sale in the store.

“The concept of Carrefour is to develop partnerships with small and medium-size enterprises from the hosting countries and to work with local suppliers in order to boost local economy,” Jean Anthoine, executive director of Carrefour Bulgaria, said.

Earlier this month, Carrefour said group operating profit inched up by only 0.3% to EUR3.3bn (US$4.48bn) in 2008.

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Net income plunged 45% to EUR1.27bn, dragged down by one-time impairment costs of EUR396m, mainly in Italy.

The retailer said it plans to cut operating costs and increase price promotions in a bid to boost earnings and kick-start sales.