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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Carrefour Pulls Out After Just 4 Months

Carrefour, Europe’s largest retailer, said late Thursday that it would leave Russia just four months after opening its first store because of an “absence of sufficient organic growth prospects.”

The surprise announcement came as the Paris-based retailer reported a third straight drop in quarterly sales and amid reports that it was under pressure from shareholders to sell assets in emerging markets.

“Carrefour has decided to sell its activities in Russia and pull out of the market, given the absence of sufficient organic growth prospects and acquisition opportunities in the short and medium term that would have allowed Carrefour to attain a position of leadership,” Carrefour said in a statement.

“This decision is consistent with the group’s strategy, which aims at building leadership positions that will ensure strong and lasting profitable growth,” the statement said.

Carrefour operates two hypermarkets, in Moscow and Krasnodar, and was planning to open a third, in Lipetsk, by the end of the year.

Carrefour will be looking for buyers for its Moscow and Krasnodar stores, a company spokeswoman said by telephone from Paris.

In Lipetsk, “Carrefour does not own the space, it is just renting the space, so it will be canceled,” she said.

The spokeswoman refused to provide figures for Carrefour’s Russia operations.

Carrefour Russia spokesman Alexei Shavenzov declined to comment, referring all questions to the French office.

Carrefour, a late entry into the Russian market, has invested millions of euros into its operations here, including 8 million euros ($11.1 million) into its first store, a 14,300-square-meter, two-story hypermarket that opened in a shopping mall in western Moscow on June 18.

“We were waiting for the best moment to enter the market,” Carrefour Group executive director Thierry Garnier said at the opening. “We are in Russia for the long term.”

Carrefour entered Russia after foreign chains like Auchan and Metro Cash and Carry were fully established.

The company invested 8 million euros ($11.3 million) into its Krasnodar hypermarket, which opened in a mall Sept. 10.

Carrefour last week denied reports that key shareholders were pressuring it to sell assets in emerging markets.