PARIS — Carrefour Sunday said it has signed an agreement to sell an 80 percent stake in its Chinese operations to Suning.com for the sum of 1.4 billion euros.
The grocery giant billed the change in its strategy in China as an opportunity to further develop the Carrefour name in that vast market.
“The strong complementarity between Carrefour China and Suning.com’s activities will accelerate the development of Carrefour China,” the retailer said in a statement.
Maintaining a foothold in China, Carrefour will keep a 20 percent stake in the business as well as two seats on the supervisory board.
The move comes nearly 25 years after the French retailer first entered the Chinese market. Suning.com is one of China’s biggest retailers, with nearly 9,000 stores in more than 700 cities. It runs the country’s third largest business to consumer e-commerce platform, according to the statement.
Carrefour first set up in China in 1995 and currently operates 210 hypermarkets and 24 convenience stores there. The business generated 3.6 billion euros in sales last year, and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of 66 million euros.
Under the direction of chief executive officer Alexandre Bompard, Carrefour is undergoing a broad overhaul of operations around the world to adapt to the rise of e-commerce and shifting consumption habits, as shoppers increasingly opt for convenience stores in city centers. Carrefour, in the Sixties, was the first retailer to build suburban, big-box-style stores where people could find everything from washing machines to bread under one roof.