On August 25, Carrefour's Xinshi store in Guangzhou surprised the public by posting a notice that read:
"Due to business adjustments, our store will cease operations on August 26."
Carrefour's Xinshi store posts a cease of operation notice. Image via 南都周刊 SWeekly
According to several Carrefour China employees, the closure of the Xinshi store came abruptly, especially considering that the lease for the store was originally set to expire in 2032.
Earlier this year, Carrefour China consecutively closed down its Kangwang and Yuancun stores in Guangzhou, with the Xinshi store as the last remaining Carrefour location in the city.
Additionally, Carrefour's Shenzhen stores were all closed by the end of June this year, leaving the company without any physical presence in Guangzhou or Shenzhen.
The Xinshi store in Guangzhou first opened its doors on March 16, 2005, serving as a strategic store in the South China region.
However, on May 2023, the Xinshi store faced eviction due to unpaid rent, a situation that Carrefour China's representative acknowledged in an interview with SWeekly.
At the time, Carrefour China emphasized that they had no intention of closing the Xinshi store, and were actively addressing the rent issue.
Regarding the sudden closure, the representative at the Xinshi store cited the impact of factors such as the pandemic, online competition, and community group purchases.
These challenges led to significant operational difficulties and severe losses, ultimately prompting the company's shareholders to decide on its dissolution.
Beyond Guangzhou and Shenzhen, Carrefour's presence in Beijing has also seen a substantial reduction.
In April, Carrefour had 15 stores in Beijing, but by August, only two stores – in Shuangjing and Siyuanqiao – remained operational.
The 2023 first-quarter report released by Carrefour China's parent company, Suning.com
According to the first-quarter report released by Carrefour China's parent company, Suning.com, as of March 31, 2023, Carrefour had 114 stores in China, a decrease of 33 from the initial count of 147 at the beginning of the year.
Aside from closures, Carrefour China has been transitioning from a hypermarket model to a community-focused quality lifestyle center.
Carrefour Gubei Shanghai store. Image via Sina Weibo Carrefour China
In early April, Carrefour's new-format store, the Carrefour Gubei Shanghai store, was unveiled, featuring an expanded section for home appliances and a reduced supermarket area.
Founded in France in 1959, Carrefour is one of the largest retail chains in Europe. It entered Chinese mainland in 1995 with its first store in Beijing.
In June 2019, Suning.com announced its acquisition of an 80% stake in Carrefour China for RMB4.8 billion, making Suning the largest shareholder.
Despite the acquisition by Suning, Carrefour China has struggled to overcome its financial challenges.
Have you ever visited a Carrefour store? Which major supermarket do you frequent the most? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments. Stay updated on the latest news in the Greater Bay Area by following our WeChat official account, ThatsGBA.
[Cover image via Sina Weibo Carrefour China]