Colombia is latest exit for Carrefour

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Colombia is latest exit for Carrefour

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Struggling French retail giant Carrefour is selling its stores in Colombia for two billion euros.

It is part of a major restructuring under its new chief executive to cut costs and its huge debt.

This is the latest withdrawal by Carrefour, the world’s second-largest retailer. It has already quit Greece and Singapore.

The buyer is Chilean retailer Cencosud which will add 72 hypermarkets, 16 convenience stores and 4 cash and carry stores in Colombia, to the 900 shops and 26 commercial centres it operates in the region.

Cencosud, which listed on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this year, recently purchased Brazilian supermarket chain Prezunic and Chilean department store Johnson’s, and also has operations in Argentina and Peru.

As Latin American firms expand, European retailers have been hurt by poor performances in austerity-hit countries and as hypermarkets have suffered from a shift towards more local and online shopping.

Carrefour’s CEO Georges Plassat has said he wants to defend mature markets like France and Spain as well as its operations in growth markets Brazil and China. Countries under review included Turkey and Indonesia.

“This transaction is in line with Carrefour’s new strategy of focusing on geographies and countries in which it holds or aims to develop a leading position,” the French retailer said in a statement.