The CEO of Europe’s largest retailer, Carrefour, has insisted the hypermarket format is “not dead”.

Chairman and CEO of Carrefour, Georges Plassat told attendees at the World Retail Congress in Paris today (7 October) that “clicks and mortar are the future” and insisted that e-commerce alone is not enough. 

While he acknowledged that Carrefour had “lost a little weight”, referring to the group’s recent decision to close stores in some markets, he insisted the internet was not a panacea.

“I am totally convinced that clicks and mortar is the future. There is a dream for people working purely with the internet that they will be delivering to everybody on a daily basis a litre of milk. This is totally a dream and it could become a nightmare because of the cost of energy.”

While e-commerce has become a rapidly growing format in the food retail sector, Plassat said the key was to make stores “interesting, efficient” and “serving the needs of our customers.

As Europe’s largest retailer, Carrefour currently operates around 11,000 stores across 32 countries. Around 68% of the group’s business, he said, was still conducted in store.

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The CEO insisted that retailers need to work hard on the quality of product offering and invest more in staff training. He added that the “one size fits all” approach no longer works as firms expand internationally.

The CEO warned that retailers should not underestimate the power of domestic rivals.

Carrefour, which generates around 40% of sales in France, has struggled with its price perception and reliance on hypermarket sales in the market. However, in its first-half results last month, the retailer booked an increase in first-half profits, boosted by a strong rebound in profitability at its domestic business.