SUNING WELL PLACED TO RESHAPE FRENCH SUPERMARKET CHAIN WITHIN CHINA’S E-COMMERCE DRIVEN RETAIL LANDSCAPE
Nanjing-based online retailer buys out French retailing giant’s China portfolio and announces a major store rollout
30 September 2019 | (Staff Writers & Newswire/Main Image: China Daily)
Just three months after announcing its intention to acquire an 80% controlling equity stake in Carrefour China for RMB 4.8 billion (US$676 million) the transaction is complete. It’s the latest of the company’s move into bricks-and-mortar retailing, having already acquired Dia China and Wanda Department Stores.
Said, Zhang Jindong, Chairman of Suning Holdings Group, “This is a key step in Suning’s smart retail plan. Carrefour’s FMCG experience and supply chain capabilities can be integrated with Suning’s full-scenario retail model, solid logistics network and advanced technology. With our smart retail capabilities, Suning can transform the Carrefour stores into fully integrated online-and-offline supermarkets to meet evolving consumer demands.”
Bloomberg China analyst Rachel Chang says it ends a long search of the French company to find a buyer for its China business, “It was the first foreign supermarket owner to establish a presence in China in 1995; but it’s really struggled in the last few years with declining sales as e-commerce giants took over large amounts of consumer shopping. (For Carrefour) it ends a long period of trying to figure out what to do with its Chinese operations.”
Suning confirmed that Carrefour China will open 300 new stores in China’s tier 1-3 cities over the next five years. The company also revealed that Carrefour’s Chinese brand and operation will remain independent, while benefiting from Suning’s retail cloud model, open technology, logistics and supply chain capabilities to better access the lower tier markets.
Starting immediately, Suning home appliance section will be integrated into more than 200 Carrefour China stores. In the future, Carrefour stores in China will also incorporate other Suning assets including mother-infant, sports retail and movie theatres. Ultimately, Suning seeks to create a one-stop community center, integrating goods, services, experience and leisure.
With a presence in China dating back to 24 years, Carrefour China operates a network of 210 hypermarkets and 24 convenience stores, covering 22 provinces and 51 large and medium-sized cities, with about 30 million members. In 2018, it generated net sales of nearly RMB 30 billion (US$4.2 billion).
At the time of this transaction, Carrefour China has slightly fewer hypermarkets than in its home market of France. However the announced store rollout will see more than double the number of stores in China, giving it far and away the biggest number of stores under the Carrefour brand.
In the first half of this year Suning.com saw its omni-channel sales volume of commodities increase 21.8 per cent year-on-year to RMB184.22 billion (US$26.8 billion). As of June, the company had 442 million registered subscribers for retailing platform, plus 7,503 self-operated and franchised stores in its offline footprint.