French hypermarket chain Carrefour is allegedly talking to real estate group Klepierre about the possible purchase of more than 100 shopping malls. This way, the chain hopes to put European hypermarkets back onto the map.
1.7 billion euro
Currently, the shopping centres (located in France, Spain and Italy) belong to Kleppiere. Both companies have admitted they are talking, but said that no agreement has been reached so far. They will not be commenting any more, until the supposed 1.7 billion euro deal has been finalized.
Carrefour sold 150 shopping centres to Kleppiere in 2000, in order to alleviate its debts and to enable international expansion. Buying the malls back allows Carrefour to ask for rent, while it renovates 150 of its 220 hypermarkets. It intends to do so in the next three years, to lure customers back to the stores.
French newspaper Le Figaro believes Carrefour will pay half of the deal itself, while investors will pay the other half. That is why the supermarket chain is now looking for 5 to 6 investors who are willing to invest 100 to 200 million euro each. George Plassat, Carrefour’s CEO, had already mentioned in May 2012 – when he was appointed CEO – that shopping mall exploitation was a lucrative business.
Carrefour is the second largest European retailer, even though it has been struggling for years. Particularly its hypermarket concept, which it helped launch, is suffering from the customers’ shift to local purchases, like in convenience stores.
(Translated by Gary Peeters)