By  on February 24, 2010

PARIS — Citing worsening market conditions, Carrefour Belgium, a subsidiary of Carrefour SA, the world’s second-largest retailer, on Tuesday revealed plans to shutter 21 stores in Belgium. At stake are some 1,672 jobs.

Carrefour outlined plans to develop its franchise business to help bail out certain hemorrhaging stores and to contribute 300 million euros, or $408 million at current exchange, over three years toward the remodeling of existing stores in line with new retail concept developments, including online initiatives.

Carrefour operates 627 stores in Belgium under the Carrefour, Carrefour Express, GB and Rob banners.

The news comes a week after the retailer’s chief executive officer, Lars Olofsson, acknowledged the firm is losing speed in certain Western European markets. “We need to update the concept,” he said during a presentation of the company’s full-year 2009 results last week.

The group plans to invest 2.2 billion euros, or $2.99 billion, in 2010, roughly stable versus last year. Most of its efforts will go into rolling out the Carrefour City, Carrefour Express, Carrefour Market and Dia banners, based on smaller city center concepts, in France, Spain, Italy and Belgium, and continuing to expand in fast-growing China and Brazil. As reported, full-year sales for the firm, excluding value-added tax, slid 1.2 percent to 85.96 billion euros, or $119.89 billion, from 86.97 billion euros, or $121.29 billion, with revenues climbing in Latin America and Asia, but sputtering in Europe, including France.

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