Carrefour supermarket

Shoppers at a Carrefour supermarket in Beijing

Carrefour was set up in 1959, opening its first supermarket in 1960 and the world's first hypermarket in a Paris suburb in 1963. Since then the group has grown to become one of the world's leading distribution groups.

It is one of the world's largest retailers, and is the largest in Europe. Carrefour currently operates four main grocery store formats - hypermarkets, supermarkets, hard discount and convenience stores.

The group currently has over 15,000 stores, either company-operated or franchises.

Carrefour has been a pioneering entrant in countries such as Brazil and China, and the group currently operates in three major markets - Europe, Latin America and Asia.

With a presence in 30 countries, over 54% of group turnover derives from outside France. The group sees strong potential for further international growth in the future, particularly in such large national markets as China, Brazil, Indonesia, Poland and Turkey.