Carrefour chairman and CEO Daniel Bernard has stepped down after 13 years at the helm. The role is now to be divided and Bernard will be replaced by José Luis Duran as CEO and former Marks and Spencer chairman Luc Vandevelde as non-executive chairman.

The French retail giant has also announced plans to invest E440m in its French hypermarkets this year. The 216-strong estate will be given 60% of this budget to modernise.

To partially offset the investment, the company wants to reduce costs by E200m in 2005 by introducing efficiencies in logistics, advertising, in-store and head office productivity.