Carrefour China sale ‘not on the agenda’ says French retailer

Carrefour has denied business media reports it is considering selling all or some of its Chinese retail business.

According to an article published by Bloomberg, quoting “people familiar with the matter”, the French retail giant is mulling options for the future of the Carrefour China business where sales fell 10 per cent last year to €3.6 billion.

Carrefour “is working with an adviser and has begun reaching out to potential suitors,” Bloomberg reported. Its sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.

However, a spokeswoman for Carrefour responded saying a sale of the business is “not on the agenda.”

Analysts estimate the Carrefour China business could fetch about US$1 billion if it was sold in total, however options being considered include selling a share to a local partner – or to not sell any of it. No final decision has been made as yet.

The first Carrefour China supermarket was opened in 1995 when the French company was one of the first foreign retailers to enter the market. Since then it has opened about 245 stores, mostly large-format hypermarkets.

In March, Carrefour reported its Chinese business had boosted profit 11-fold to €45 million.

“China is a retailing laboratory for the world,” said Thierry Garnier, president and CEO of Carrefour China at the time. “For Carrefour, China is a specific market that has helped us to learn and to understand the future.”  

And last month the company said it was partnering with local electronics retail Gome to open stores-in-stores in Carrefour hypermarkets selling electrical goods after a successful trial in 11 stores.

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