By  on December 7, 2004

PARIS — France’s Carrefour, the world’s second-largest retailer after Wal-Mart, on Monday said it planned to spend $254 million over the next two years to open and renovate stores in South Korea.

Carrefour chief executive officer Daniel Bernard signed a letter of intent for the investments with Seoul’s minister of commerce and industry, Lee Hee-Beom, who in return pledged his country’s support to the firm, Carrefour said.

Carrefour has opened 27 hypermarkets in South Korea since its arrival in 1996. It had sales of about $1.5 billion in the country last year.

In 2005, Carrefour said it plans to open three hypermarkets, in Jeonju City, Hwaseong City and Incheon Metropolitan City.

Meanwhile, Carrefour is said to be seeking to sell its eight hypermarkets in Japan. A spokesman for the company declined all comment. But sources said Carrefour, which entered Japan in 2000, had mandated Morgan Stanley to broker a deal.

Wal-Mart and Japanese retailers Aeon and Izumiya have been cited as possible candidates.

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