Carrefour to quit S’pore?

There is a news item in Bloomberg Businessweek today claiming that Carrefour would be pulling out of Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. (see below in case the link is changed).

I don’t know about Malaysia and Thailand but I’ve always had the feeling that Carrefour isn’t going to last in Singapore.

This feeling was strongest last month when I happened to have lunch in Plaza Singapura and decided after that to pick up a couple of common items in the Carrefour outlet in the basement.

In the end, I couldn’t find any: beehoon, tanghoon and disposable gloves. Perhaps they were available but certainly not where I was directed by the staff. Even my own self-directed search uncovered nothing.

The place is vast, shoppers few and the goods displayed in most unappetising and unintuitive fashion.

Carr none?

If that’s French chic, I hate to think what French hick is.

As for prices, Carrefour can’t compare with either Fairprice or Cold Storage, especially after factoring in dividends, rebates and Link points from the first and Passion Card points from the second. 

 Freshness of fresh produce? Where I’m concerned, it’s a distant 3rd behind Fairprice and Cold Storage for all produce and even in fourth place for fish like cod and salmon, because the first place goes to Kuriya fish market where if you want anything fresher, you would have to go out with the fishing fleet yourself.

I used to adore the hard rolls churned out by Carrefour’s bakery, paying fairly steep prices for what is after all a hypermart product.

Again in recent months, I couldn’t find the hard rolls any more and its other bread, pastry and cakes don’t look any more appetising than those from heartland cake shops.

Even its Bengawan Solo tenant (?) had shipped out from its Suntec outlet.

All these suggest that the operator has lost heart in its business, at least in those parts where I have spent money on and off.

So if Carrefour becomes Carr none, I wonder who will step into its shoes? Sheng Siong? Giant? Cold Storage? Fairprice? Or will each take a portion after the dismemberment?

Carrefour Said to Seek Buyers for Southeast Asia Units

By Cathy Chan and Andrew Roberts

July 6 (Bloomberg) — Carrefour SA, Europe’s biggest retailer, plans to exit Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand and is seeking offers for its operations in the Southeast Asian countries, according to four people familiar with the matter.

Carrefour, based in Paris, has approached potential buyers and may ask for bids by early September, said two of the people, who declined to be identified because the sale process isn’t public. The combined operations may fetch $800 million to $1 billion, they said. Carrefour plans to retain its units in China and Indonesia, the people said. Carrefour spokeswoman Florence Baranes-Cohen declined to comment.

The retailer will consider selling the units separately as potential buyers may not be interested in bidding for all three combined, according to two of the people. Carrefour’s Thai business may have a value of $500 million to $600 million, while the Malaysian and Singapore operations may be valued at $350 million to $400 million, the people said.

“It’s a positive move, in line with what the company has been doing,” Fabio Fazzari, an analyst at Equita Sim in Milan, said by telephone. “The new management is more focused on non- capital intensive retail. What they’ve been seeking to do for about a year now is get rid of all underperforming assets.”

Carrefour is “obliged” to listen to offers for its businesses in markets where leadership is unattainable, Chief Executive Officer Lars Olofsson told shareholders in May. Asia was Carrefour’s smallest market by sales in 2009, accounting for about 7.5 percent of the total, according to the company’s website. France was the biggest, generating 43 percent, followed by the rest of Europe at 36 percent.

Carrefour plans to open 22 hypermarkets and 140 discount stores in China this year, Olofsson said in May. The retailer also intends to add 13 stores in Indonesia, where it recently sold a 40 percent stake to Trans Corp., a unit of Para Group.

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3 thoughts on “Carrefour to quit S’pore?

  1. Pingback: Soured dough « FOOD fuels me to talk…

  2. Pingback: I may not be Paul the Octopus but « FOOD fuels me to talk…

  3. Pingback: Carrefour: didn’t I tell you so? | FOOD fuels me to talk…

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