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The New York Times reports that Carrefour CEO Lars Olofsson has decided that the best way to guarantee the future of the world’s second biggest retailer is to follow “a simple strategy: strengthen at home, then either dominate or withdraw abroad ... If you cannot become leader, sooner or later you will have a competitive problem. If ever I have an offer in markets where I don’t believe we can become leader, I’m prepared to have a look at it.”

However, Olofsson says he plans to continue investing in countries such as China, Brazil and India, believing that Carrefour can dominate there.

A year and a half ago, when he joined the company, “Carrefour had lost track of being client and consumer focused and lost a certain track of price competitiveness,” Olofsson tells the Times. Since then, the company has been “focusing on re-branding and refurbishing stores, automating checkout lanes at hypermarkets, introducing recession-friendly value brands, overhauling the information technology systems and better leveraging its huge buying power to improve price competitiveness.”

“In 2010 we should see the fruits of that work coming through — in sales and profitability,” Olofsson says. “All this puts us in a better position for the future.”
KC's View:
Taken to the logical extreme, I suppose this means that Carrefour is willing to drop down the list of world’s biggest retailers if it means being more profitable in the long run...though I expect that this isn’t an eventuality that leadership there thinks will happen.

It sounds very much like the GE philosophy - if you can’t be number one or two, get out of the business segment.