The Carrefour Group's principal activity is retail distribution, operating through a chain of hypermarkets, supermarkets and hard discount stores located Europe, Latin America and Asia. The Group operates in 31 countries. In 2004, Carrefour created an Innovation Department, within the Group Information Technology Head Office. This department has the objective to ‘’invent the future’’ which includes to offer innovative solutions and concept ideas to the Business Units, in order to develop better services to clients and improve efficiency of the company; undertake a market watch; understanding business value of new technologies; collect innovative ideas and increase experimentations in countries where Carrefour is present; demonstrate, using pilots and business cases, the pertinence of their implementation; assist countries and Business Units in the implementation of pilots; and ensure the animation of internal and external communication on these pilots.