Carrefour, Europe's leading retailer, has opened a 90,000 square metre clothing depot in Vert-St-Denis near Paris, increasing its handling capacity by 50 per cent.

The warehouse, which represents an investment of 100 million euros, can store 80,000 pallets and 80km of hanging rails - and can handle 300 million items each year. It will control and prepare orders before delivering them direct to stores ready for sale. Orders for new items will be automatically generated by checkout tills in the stores.

The new facility will help Carrefour achieve greater efficiency within the clothing supply chain, while the new the new ordering system will help to reduce the number of out-of-stocks, as well as the amount of unsold stock.

Carrefour sells 1.6 billion euros of clothing a year in France, representing 5 per cent of the French clothing market. Alongside is own label clothing range Tex, the hypermarket is preparing to trial the US sportswear brand Cherokee in its French stores in spring 2003.