Reports that French supermarket group Carrefour is looking to sell its hypermarkets in southern Italy and its cash and carry outlets in the north of the country have been neither denied nor confirmed by the French retailer.

When contacted by just-food regarding a report in the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore that it had instructed the investment bank Citigroup to oversee the sale of the operations, a Carrefour spokesperson said the reports were a "rumour" and the company would be making no comment.

The 11 cash & carry units in question and the 17 hypermarkets have a total turnover of EUR250m (US$335m).

The rumour originated from a comment made by a rival chain to the French trade magazine LSA, which suggested Carrefour is looking to concentrate on its supermarkets in the middle and north of Italy.