While French supermarket chain Carrefour has announced its acquisition of Poland’s Rast supermarket chain, which operates 10 stores in the north eastern store of Olsztyn, for an undisclosed fee, Polish politicians have called for a boycott of UK grocery giant Tesco, amid a war of words between David Cameron and the Polish prime minister Donald Tusk over immigration.
In a press statement, Carrefour said that the deal would see it “strengthen its operations in Poland”. Carrefour Poland opened its first store in 1997 in Lodz and currently operates more than 600 hypermarket, supermarkets and convenience stores in the country.
The world’s second largest retail group does not provide a breakdown of sales per market outside France except when it announces its annual results. In 2012, Carrefour posted a 4.4% fall in sales in Poland to €1.89 billion.
Rast supermarkets sell a broad range of fresh produce, notably meat, cold cuts, dairy products, vegetables, fruits and bread and bakery.
Reuters reported that Jan Bury, head of the Polish Peasants Party (PSL), called Mr. Cameron’s policies “unfriendly and scandalous towards Poland and Poles”. PSL is the junior partner in Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s coalition government.
Mr. Cameron, reacting to public fears that central Europeans from poorer EU states could arrive to leach off Britain’s welfare system, last month had migrants’ access to unemployment benefits tightened.
“As Poles, we can also say ‘no’ to Prime Minister Cameron and his policies,” Bury said. “We call on Poles to boycott British retailer Tesco.”
Tesco have since come out and attempted to remind Polish citizens of the amount of employment it has created in the country over the past number of years.
“We opened our first stores in Poland nearly 20 years ago, and we’re very proud to serve our Polish customers living there and in the UK,” a spokesperson said.
“We’re also proud to have created tens of thousands of jobs in Poland and to be making a significant contribution to the Polish economy.”