Julien Munch, the CEO of Carrefour Romania, says that his main strategic pursuits this year will include online and offline expansions and strong focus on proximity formats, staying true to the company’s omnichannel profile. At the same time, the company will continue to partner up with local farmers and producers in order to provide fresh local products to its customers.
By Anda Sebesi
Julien Munch became the CEO of Carrefour Romania at the beginning of 2021 and, since localisation is a very important direction for the company and also something he strongly believes in, he travelled over 7,000 km to explore Romania and gain a better understanding of the local context. “It was essential for me to meet and talk to experienced colleagues, local producers, and customers, on top of what I did in my day to day work, in order to understand their needs and continue to adapt our strategy accordingly,” he explains.
The pandemic and its risks and the associated restrictions have been the biggest challenge for Carrefour Romania recently, but it has relied on its agility.
As such, 2021 saw a series of major business achievements for Carrefour Romania, which continued its expansion both offline and online, by opening 27 stores, of which 23 in the Express category. It also made moves in the e-commerce area, continuing its expansion with Bringo and crossing the threshold of 100 stores included in the platform. “The launch of the 30-minute fast delivery service for small formats in August 2021 contributed to this figure. Six months after its launch, the service is already available in 9 cities and includes 48 stores. Our objective is to bring it to all major Romanian cities this year,” says Munch.
The relationship with customers was another area of focus last year for the retailer, which launched the Act for Good programme. The unique digital platform in the Carrefour app transforms shopping into a personalized experience with social impact, and in doing so attracts responsible consumers. “In just one year, the Act For Good programme reached 1 million active app users and 6 million monthly visits”, underlines Munch.
For the past several years, Carrefour Romania has been focused on its partnerships with local farmers and producers in order to always provide fresh local products for its customers. The Gradinile Noastre din Zarand Cooperative and its 20 farmers, along with more than 130 other farmers in the Varasti Cooperative, are two such examples. “We will also continue to invest money, know-how, and human resources in cooperatives. We are currently collaborating with the Varasti and Gradinile Noastre din Zarand cooperatives. To these we can add flagship programmes such as Crestem Romania BIO and Deschidem Vinul Românesc, which continue to grow each year,” he adds. From a financial perspective, the retailer achieved results that came in line with its expectations and confirmed the volatility surrounding the retail sector. “We recorded a 2 percent growth in sales in comparable terms, driven by high client satisfaction, despite the fact that our hypermarkets in commercial centres were impacted by restrictions.”
Munch says that this year, the company will keep a strong focus on its proximity format and omnichannel model. Equally important are partnerships with local producers, as part of its global Act for Food commitment. “We now have the highest number of partnerships with local producers on the market, namely more than 1,000, 300 of whom are ultra-local producers who only deliver small quantities to stores in their vicinity. These are partnerships that benefit the local economy, the farmers and producers involved, as well as our customers, who have access to an increasingly rich assortment of Romanian products through the Carrefour network,” Munch notes. As for the future, Munch puts it simply: “Quick and smart reactions in this complex environment, coupled with a long-term vision, will make a difference in both the private and public sectors.”
Julien Munch’s 3 business lessons of 2021
- Resilience – not just learning of new ways to be resilient, but discovering that we’ve been resilient to begin with.
- Taking a step back – I alternate my day-to-day responsibilities with taking time to see the big picture.
- Don’t be afraid to take risks!