Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Carrefour to close Singapore outlets by year-end

SINGAPORE: Hypermarket chain Carrefour has announced that it plans to close both its local outlets -- at Suntec City Mall and Plaza Singapura -- by the end of this year.

In a press release dated Tuesday morning, the company said: "Carrefour Singapore announces the decision to close its Suntec and Plaza Singapura stores before end of 2012, since expansion and growth perspectives do not allow reaching a leadership position in the medium and long term."

The French company, which opened its first store in Singapore in 1997, had previously said in 2010 that it would leave Malaysian, Singaporean and Thai markets.

In November 2010, it sold its operations in Thailand -- where it had 42 stores including 34 hypermarkets -- to Thai chain Big C, for an enterprise value of 868 million euros (S$1.36 billion).

But in the same month, it put off plans of selling its stores in Singapore and Malaysia, saying it was confident of creating more value single-handedly in Malaysia and Singapore in the medium and long term, rather than by disposing of those properties.

Then-chief executive of the Carrefour group, Lars Olofsson, said at that point that the two countries would become more significant contributors to the company's overall business.

However, other reports claimed that Carrefour had cancelled plans to sell its Malaysian and Singaporean assets after the designed sale did not attract expected bids.

In 2009, Asia accounted for 7.9 per cent of Carrefour's sales of 85.9 billion euros. Carrefour's two outlets in Singapore contributed 85 million euros in revenue that year, according to its annual report.

Separately, Dairy Farm Singapore says it has signed a lease to open a new Giant hypermarket chain at Suntec City. It is also exploring the possibility of taking over the space at Plaza Singapura after Carrefour ends its lease.

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