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Sofia Carrefour To Open In February 2010

Europe's biggest retailer, French chain Carrefour, is now officially in Bulgaria, having opened its first hypermarket in Bourgas earlier in March. Although it has eight projects in development now, the next opening is almost a year away, the head of the retailer's Bulgarian subsidiary told weekly Stroitelstvo Gradut in an interview."The first hypermarket in Sofia is scheduled to open for business in February 2010, and it will be the second one in operation in Bulgaria," Carrefour Bulgaria executive director Jean Antoine said.Carrefour has two sites under development in Sofia and one in Varna, which was in an advanced stage, he said. "In Stara Zagora, we are also far in and now we are finalising the projects for the construction of retail centres in Pleven, Dobrich and Rousse."Some of them would be significantly smaller than the 13 000 sq m store in Bourgas, Antoine said, giving the example of Pleven, where the floor area will be 2000 sq m.The Sofia hypermarket that will open in February 2010 is the one on the Tsarigradsko Chaussee, chosen for its prime location. "During peak hours there are more than 100 000 vehicles passing past our store in every direction. It was logical to establish ourselves there, as location is always vital," Antoine said.Logical was also the decision to start operations in the country: "Bulgaria is a developing country with a strong potential in the future and the fact that it has become a member of the European Union further contributed to our decision."The market was potentially big enough to allow several big chains to co-exist, he said.