French supermarket chain Carrefour announced its plan to step into the Kazakh market this year. A local news portal Kazpravda.kz reported quoting a local administration office that, “Carrefour retailer, the second largest after the American Walmart stores based on market capitalisation, plans to open its first store in Almaty during the first quarter of 2016.” The newspaper also says that, “Active work to attract major global brands is underway… A chain of Starbucks coffee houses was opened in Almaty in December of 2015.”
The first Carrefour in the country would be around 12,500 sq meters big and located in new Grand Park Almaty. The largest home improvement chain in France, Leroy Merlin also plans to open stores in Almaty region, which would also be their country’s first. The Almaty local administration is also in talks with bigger brands like Auchan, Bombardier and IKEA to open their stores in the region. The World’s biggest supermarket chain Walmart has also shown interest in the market. In its bid to woo foreign investors, the Almaty local administration has brought in an eponymous council, which includes foreign investors, financial organisations and consulting companies along with Kazakh government officials.
Forbes Kazakhstan reports that MAF Hypermarkets Kazakhstan would be in control of the franchise operations for Carrefour once the store starts working. MAF is a subdivision of the Arab Majid Al Futtaim company. Carrefour, founded in 1963 plans to open at least 15 more stores across the country before 2020. Kazakhstan would be a challenge for the supermarket since the population is less the territory is vast.