Carrefour Belgium to close 21 stores
Carrefour has announced that it will close 21 stores in Belgium and cut 1,672 jobs. The retailer plans to close 14 of its 56 Belgian hypermarkets and seven of its 378 Belgian supermarkets by 30 June and would also sell 30 of its outlets. Carrefour may begin talks with its franchise partner Mestdagh to sell 17-20 stores, said Belgium Managing Director Gérard Lavinay. In total, nearly one third of the hypermarkets and nearly half of the supermarkets will be closed, franchised or sold.
At the same time, the retailer plans to freeze wages, to increase the number of its franchises in the country and to make investments worth EUR300 million (USD438 million) over three years to refurbish its remaining Belgian stores.
Last week, at the presentation of the 2009 full year results, Carrefour said it was reviewing its Belgian operations which have struggled for years amid intense competition from Belgian rivals Delhaize and Colruyt and discounters Aldi and Lidl. Carrefour Belgium's like-for-like sales have fallen every year since 2005. CEO Lars Olofsson said "the retailer has the firm intention to stay and develop in Belgium but on a redefined and sound footing."
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