November 7, 2017 / 6:33 PM / 5 months ago

Carrefour France's new head to meet Works Council this month

* Staff to quizz head of France on turnaround at meeting-union

* Pascal Clouzard is in charge of France since September

* Carrefour CEO has said will detail group strategy by year-end

By Dominique Vidalon

PARIS, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Pascal Clouzard, the new head of Carrefour France, will be quizzed about plans to revive the retailer’s fortunes when he attends a meeting of the Works Council for France on Nov. 23, a union official said on Tuesday.

“We need a roadmap. There is talk of restructuring some French hypermarkets, cutting costs. We would like to know which stores,” Force Ouvriere union representative Michel Enguelz told Reuters.

“He is coming to introduce himself. We will ask him questions though it looks like we may have to wait until the end of the year for news,” he added.

Separately a Carrefour spokeswoman said that “no particular announcement” was expected at the Nov. 23 meeting.

Alexandre Bompard, who joined as CEO in July, is working on plans to try to revitalise Carrefour, the world’s second largest retailer, which warned in August its operating profit this year could fall by around 12 percent..

In September Bompard put Clouzard, the former head of Spain, in charge of France. Bompard has said he will provide details on his strategy for the group by the end of the year.

Carrefour shares are down 25 percent so far in 2017, underpeforming the Stoxx Europe 600 retail sector index which is down nearly 5 percent.

France, which accounts for 47 percent of Carrefour’s sales and improving the French hypermarket business is a priority for Bompard, that goal having eluded several of his predecessors in the face of stiff competition and discounting from online competitors and unlisted rival Leclerc.

Bompard and Clouzard have met several union representatives in France in recent months.

Options for France still ranged from turning some stores into franchises to moving others to lease management, closing loss-making stores as well as opening stores on Sundays. However, no announcement has yet been made.

There could also be some restructuring at the group’s head office and more price cuts to attract shoppers, union sources said.

Natixis analysts estimate that Carrefour’s turnaround plan could entail cost cuts worth 1 billion euros at the group level over three years, half coming from France to help fund price cuts there. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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