Marat Terterov: Armenia’s long term security will be better served by strengthening economic security, rather than defining national security on the basis of the Tsarist Russian catch-cry “armiya i flot”
"Hear Carrefour wants to open in Yerevan. I used to shop there in Brussels. Would be good for competition here. Hope it happens," US Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern wrote in his micro-blog on Twitter.
The entry of the large retail network of Carrefour hypermarkets, which leaves an impression of an extended intrigue, has apparently ended in departure of the French retailer from Armenia. According to the rumors disseminated by some media, the leadership of Dalma Garden Mall in the person of the well-known Armenian entrepreneur Samvel Karapetyan has cancelled the contract with the European retail network Carrefour on the lease of business premises for the hypermarket. According to some media's information, the key person "to be blamed for it" is Samvel Alexanyan, the Armenian oligarch
importing essential goods, the owner of the large network of Yerevan City supermarkets.
Dalma Garden Mall says that is very busy and does not comment on this information. The Armenian Office of Carrefour also keeps silence. It is the long and insistent silence of both parties, as well as the new wave of rumors in the mass media that make it doubtless that due to the opposition of the oligarch-importers at power and the foreign investor, one of the largest retail networks in Europe will not be admitted to Armenia. The case with the French retailer Carrefour once again demonstrates the strong monopolistic nature of the Armenian market, which is totally closed for the external world.
To note, according to the reliable sources of the agency, the Carrefour hypermarket in Yerevan was to work on the basis of a franchise owned by a large U.A.E. developer Majid Al Futtaim Holding (MAF). "We are already working in 13 countries of the world. We have recently included several CIS countries in our portfolio, among them Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia", MAF Chief Executive Officer said to Russkiye Emiraty. The company has already opened its first Carrefour supermarket in Georgia and is going to open a store in Azerbaijan. To recall, at present MAF has already 45 supermarkets.
To note, by the number of its stores (over 15 thsd) Carrefour Group (France) holds the first position in Europe and the second position in the world. Carrefour hypermarkets' assortment includes up to 80,000 food and non-food items. The total staff consists of over 400 thsd people. Nothing has been said about the investments in the opening of the hypermarket in Yerevan, however, experts estimated the investments at 6-8 mln USD.
To note, by ArmInfo's data, Majid Al Futtaim Holding (U.A.E.), the Carrefour franchise holder, started to consider its possible entry into Armenian market a couple of years ago. Observers think that the opening of Carrefour in Armenia could have had a strong impact on the competitive environment in the sphere of organized retail trade, which is actually divided into 2 large networks owned by oligarch parliamentarians.