Carrefour denies plan to quit Japan

3rd December 2004, Comments 0 comments

TOKYO, Dec 3 (AFP) - Carrefour SA of France, the world's second-largest retailer, said Friday that reports it is planning to leave the Japanese market are only "rumours".

TOKYO, Dec 3 (AFP) - Carrefour SA of France, the world's second-largest retailer, said Friday that reports it is planning to leave the Japanese market are only "rumours".

"That surprises me," Carrefour Japan president Loic Dubois told AFP. "Those are really rumours. I have no other comments to make," Dubois said.

He was responding to a report in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, citing unnamed sources, which said Carrefour had separately asked US-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and Japan's largest supermarket operator, Aeon Co. Ltd., to buy its eight stores.

The report said the deals had fallen through over pricing and other terms and now Carrefour was considering selling the stores in two batches - three based in the Tokyo area and five in the Osaka area in western Japan.

Wal-Mart and Aeon also cast doubts over the report.

"We have never had formal talks with Carrefour and we have nothing to do with the sale of its stores," Aeon spokesman Manabu Oshima, said.

Wal-Mart International Holdings Inc. spokeswoman Billie Cole, said: "We're interested in growing, we're interested in opportunities as they come along but we don't have any specific comments on any particular issues right now."

The French retailer, which has 6,067 stores around the world, opened its first store in Japan to great fanfare in December 2000.

Carrefour's reported decision to exit the Japanese market follows a policy announced in September by chairman Daniel Bernard, in which he indicated the French retailer would pull out of money-losing operations, the Nihon Keizai said.

Bernard also said Carrefour would focus on the Chinese market as a new source of profit.

Carrefour had originally planned to open 13 stores in Japan by 2003 but ended up with eight, according to the business daily.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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