French retail giant Carrefour has thrown in the towel on its Singaporean operations, announcing it will withdraw from the market and close its two hypermarkets there by the end of the year.
The retailer has found it hard to make headway in the competitive Singaporean market, facing rivals with lower-rent positions closer to high-density residential areas, reported the AFP.
“Carrefour Singapore announces the decision to close its Suntec and Plaza Singapura stores before end of 2012, since expansion and growth perspectives do not allow reaching a leadership position in the medium and long term,” Carrefour said in a statement.
Carrefour was the first retailer to introduce the hypermarket format to the Singaporean market with its first store opening there in 1997.
The retailer has been cutting back its operations in marginal markets in response to struggling profit figures. In 2010 the company sold its Thailand operations to rival Casino, with planned sales of its Malaysian and Singaporean operations called off because of a lack of bidders.
More recently Carrefour has pulled out of the struggling Greek market, and industry analysts have told Reuters they expect the retailer to also pull out of Indonesia, Turkey, Poland and Malaysia.
Carrefour reported earlier this year its 2011 profit had dropped 14.3 per cent to US$463m as the weak economic conditions took their toll.