A Life in a Year – 3rd June, Cross Channel Ferries and Cheap Booze

Carrefour is a French international hypermarket chain.  Headquartered in Levallois-Perret, France, Carrefour is the one of the largest hypermarket chains in the world (1395 hypermarkets at the end of 2009), the second largest retail group in the world in terms of revenue and third largest in profit after Wal-Mart and Tesco.  The Carrefour Group also leads the sector in Spain and its market share – as measured in terms of food product sales area, all formats combined – is 17.3%, followed by Eroski with 13.1% and Mercadona with 12.6%.

The first Carrefour store opened on June 3rd 1959, in suburban Annecy near a crossroads (carrefour in French). The group was created by Marcel Fournier, Denis Defforey and Jacques Defforey and grew into a chain from this first sales outlet.

Not being what you might call, an enthusiastic shopper, I wouldn’t normally find this sort of thing very interesting but what I like about Carrefour is the massive hypermarket at the Cité d’Europe because this is a really convenient place to make a first stop after a channel ferry crossing from Dover and normal practice is to drive directly to the there to do some alcohol shopping. 

The Cite d’Europe is an international shopping centre that was constructed as part of the Channel Tunnel project and is designed to bring English shoppers across to stock up on booze and cigarettes.  The place has one hundred and fortyshops and restaurants but we generally avoid them and make straight for Carrefour and the substantial alcohol section where we spend the first of our Euros on beer and wine. 

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