Carrefour yesterday said it was pulling out of Singapore with the closure of its two existing outlets in the city-state by the end of this year.
The French retail giant was the first to introduce the hypermarket concept in Singapore with the opening of its first store in 1997.
However, Carrefour has found it tough to penetrate Singapore’s market of 5.2 million people largely because other rivals are better entrenched with a wider network of branches, many of them near public housing estates.
Carrefour’s two existing stores are located within distance of each other in the city-state’s main shopping and business district.
“Carrefour Singapore announces the decision to close its Suntec and Plaza Singapura stores before end of this year, since expansion and growth perspectives do not allow reaching a leadership position in the medium and long term,” the retailer said in a statement.
The decision to withdraw from Singapore is not a surprise, according to a senior executive with an Asian electronics company that is among Carrefour’s suppliers.
“There was a lot of talk [of closing] from the internal staff and they have been clearing stock for the last two months,” said the executive, who declined to be named. “They were just not competitive enough.”
Carrefour, the world’s second-biggest retailer behind US group Walmart, reported in March that last year’s profit dropped by 14.3 percent to 371 million euros (US$463 million) amid weaker economic conditions.