FRANCE: Carrefour is testing a new convenience store format called Carrefour City in six French cities. The stores will combine groceries, frozen foods, beverages and household products alongside a large range of ready meals. The first pilot store opened for business last Friday in the 16th arrondissement of Paris and two more Carrefour City stores were opened in Nîmes and Avignon this week, with three more to follow.

USA: Wal-Mart is to expand its empire in South America after announcing the acquisition of a majority stake in Chile’s largest grocery retailer, Distribución y Servicio. An offer has been accepted for 58.2% of D&S’s shares.

“Partnering with D&S, with its strong brands and its position as Chile’s largest food retailer, is an important step in implementing Wal-Mart’s international strategy,” said Craig Herkert, Wal-Mart executive vice president and chief executive officer of the Americas. “We continue to focus on portfolio optimisation, global leverage and winning in every market.”

D&S has more than 180 stores and had sales in 2007 of $3.8bn. It has more than 34,500 employees. The company operates a number of different store formats including hypermarkets Hiper de Lider, supermarkets Express de Lider, Super Bodega Acuenta and Ekono convenience stores.

BELGIUM: Delhaize has opened a new pilot store in Gembloux, Belgium in order to test out new retail concepts. Red Market has been registered as a company in its own right, solely for the operation of one store. It will find ways of making the shopping process easier and making prices more competitive. The 2,000 square metre store stocks 5,400 SKUs, half of them private label products.

“We want to benefit from customer segmentation, while improving our price perception and price/value perception,” said Michel Eeckhout, chief executive of Delhaize Belgium.