Carrefour has opened its first Express outlet in Romania and plans to open eight new hypermarkets in the country, the French retailer told just-food today (23 May).

Carrefour said that it intends to convert the 21 Artima supermarkets it acquired last year to the Express banner.

“The Artima supermarkets are, for the greater part, situated in the West of the country in zones where Carrefour does not have stores,” a spokesperson said. “In the coming years we plan to… gradually change the banner of Artima supermarkets to Carrefour Express while widening the store base.”

During fiscal 2007 the group’s Romanian operations generated a turnover of EUR866m (US$1.4bn).

The company is the number one hypermarket operator in the market by sales, with five hypermarkets in and around Bucharest and seven more in cities with populations of more than 150,000.

“Mass market retailing in Romania is in a phase of growth,” Carrefour’s spokesperson said. “The number of stores reported to the number of inhabitants is still very far from that reached in western Europe.”

Carrefour said the “modern, dynamic and innovative format” has proven successful because of its competitive pricing policy and convenience.

“Beyond the price and beyond the convenience, the range, the atmosphere and the modernity are very important criteria informing the choice of the Romanian consumers,” Carrefour said.