French retail giant Carrefour SA Thursday said it is exiting Russia shortly after having entered the market, as it posted a 2.9% drop in third-quarter sales.
Carrefour’s change in strategy on Russia, only a month after it opened its second hypermarket in the country, comes on the heels of a series of news reports that the company is under pressure from key shareholders, U.S. private-equity firm Colony Capital LLC and French investor Bernard Arnault, to quickly sell off assets in emerging markets. The company last week moved to dispel the reports, issuing a denial.
Carrefour Chief Financial Officer Pierre Bouchut Thursday said in a conference call on the sales figures that the company has nocurrent plans to exit any other markets, but that it is ‘permanently reassessing the situation of all business units’ to ensure that they are able to ‘secure a profitable leadership position over time.’
Carrefour will likely incur a small cash cost in exiting the Russian, Mr. Bouchut said.
He affirmed Carrefour’s interest in keeping its presence in Belgium, where Chief Executive Lars Olofsson said it needed a new strategy.