May 6, 2011
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Carrefour CEO pledges to improve core France unit

May 6, 2011

May 5 - Carrefour SA Chief Executive Lars Olofsson said improving the performance of the retailer's core French business was his top priority, according to an interview in Les Echos.


Olofsson's comments came after Carrefour on Thursday sacked the head of its French unit James McCann, a former Tesco executive brought in to boost flagging French sales, and shelved a controversial property listing.

"The performance of our hypermarkets in France since the second quarter has not lived up to my ambitions for Carrefour, he said, adding that he would now take over the unit.

Asked whether the setback meant he would reconsider his strategy -- the lynchpin of which is a plan to revamp hypermarkets dubbed Planet -- Olofsson replied: "The strategy I have set out will not change. It just has to be carried out more effectively."

Olofsson added that the success of the effort could only be judged in the middle of next year when some 90 Carrefour Planet stores will have been opened in France.

Olofsson also told the newspaper that he asked the board to postpone the listing of 25 percent of Carrefour Property, which has been opposed by some activist shareholders, so he could focus all his energy on the French business.

"It's a question of priorities," he said.

The property spin-off had been contested by activist shareholder Knight Vinke, European shareholder rights group Deminor, French minority shareholder association APPAC, French labour unions and founding family shareholder Defforey.

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