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Carrefour to shutter 21 stores in Belgium


Brussels, Belgium Carrefour Belgium SA, the Belgian arm of the world’s No. 2 retailer, said Tuesday that it would close 21 stores, lay off at least 1,700 workers and sell 30 of its outlets to cut costs and reverse declining market share.

The retailer said it had misread its market. "We waited too long to adjust our strategy to the Belgian market," Belgian company CEO Gerard Lavinay said in a news conference. "We must conclude Belgians consume differently than the French."

Carrefour said it plans to close 14 of its 56 Belgian hypermarkets and seven of its 378 Belgian supermarkets and would also divest other stores. Closures will occur as of June 30.

At the same time it plans to freeze wages and make investments worth euro300 million ($406 million) to upgrade its remaining Belgian stores.

Last week, Carrefour said it was reviewing its Belgian operations, which have struggled for years amid intense competition from Belgian rivals Delhaize and Colruyt and discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Carrefour Group operates more than 15,000 shops in 31 countries.

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