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Business Week reports that in France, Auchan “is giving both Carrefour and Walmart a run for their money.”

According to the story, “Over the past decade, Auchan has expanded rapidly into China, Russia, and Eastern Europe. Based near the northern French city of Lille, the privately held company is now the world's 14th-biggest retailer, with 1,200 stores in 12 countries and annual sales of $59 billion ... by many measures, Auchan is outperforming its bigger rivals in key global markets. In China, it is opening an average of two new stores per month, luring middle-class shoppers away from Wal-Mart and Carrefour by providing wider aisles, better lighting, and a higher-quality product range, says Shaun Rein, managing director of the China Market Research Group in Shanghai. Auchan now has 132 big-box hypermarkets in China, including 110 operating under the brand name RT Mart in a joint venture with a Taiwanese partner. That puts it neck-and-neck with Carrefour, but behind Wal-Mart, which has 146 stores and owns a stake in a joint venture that has another 104 outlets.”

At the same time, Auchan seems to be performing well in markets ranging from Russia to Dubai...and while there has been some slowdown because of the global recession, Business Week reports that the retailer is “laying the groundwork” for further expansion.
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