Saturday, November 20, 2010


Hypermarkets in Malaysia
PETALING JAYA: Carrefour's decision to remain in the Malaysian market was based largely on its significant market share, a prospective position in the market that can be further improved, and professional and motivated teams that run its operations in the country, said its chief executive.

Lars Olofsson said the French hypermarket chain was ready to build on these strengths and invest the necessary means to consolidate and improve its position here.

The world's second-largest retailer in the world behind US' Wal-Mart had earlier said it was looking to sell its over 40 stores in Thailand, 23 in Malaysia and two in Singapore.

On Thursday, it shot out a statement saying that it cancelled plans to sell its stores in Malaysia and Singapore after a strategic review.

Its plan to sell its Thai business to competitor Big C, part of the French Casino group, for 868 million euros (US$1.19bil) remains intact.

According to some estimates, Carrefour is the third-largest hypermarket operator in Malaysia after Tesco and Giant.

We are convinced that we can create more value ourselves in Malaysia and Singapore than by selling those assets in the medium and long term, Olofsson said in a statement.

Our activities in Malaysia were consistent with our two strategic aims of occupying a leadership position and continuing to build our presence in growth markets.

Carrefour's decision to stay in Malaysia comes as expectations in the retail industry has become more robust. Retail Group Malaysia last month revised upward its 2010 growth forecast for the local retail industry to 6.1% from 5.5% previously due to the better-than-expected performance by its members in the third quarter.

The revised total sales turnover expected for this year is RM75.3bil (compared with RM74.9bil earlier), according to the most recentMalaysia Retail Industry Report.

Economists have said that as the country moved towards a high-income nation status, that would mean income per capita rising over the next few years, which would translate into higher spending by Malaysians.

Analysts have also remarked that retailers in a country with high disposable incomes would be able to offer higher-margin products to its customers as the tastes of Malaysians evolved alongside their income status.

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