Carrefour has remained tight-lipped over reports it is planning a return to Algeria, four years after exiting its joint venture in the country.

The world’s second-largest retailer opened its first store in Algeria in 2006 as part of a tie-up with local firm Arcofina. However, in 2009, the pair decided to pull the plug on the venture, citing “too much competition from local shops”.

According to African publication Jeune Afrique, Carrefour is preparing a return to the country and could open its first hypermarket in Setif, in north-eastern Algeria.

The publication said Stéphane Thouin, Carrefour’s executive director of international partnerships, is leading negotiations to open the store. The retailer is said to be in “advanced” talks with Duarte Morais Cabral, CEO of Sierra Cevital, a firm that specialises in the development and management of shopping centres.

A spokesperson for Carrefour, however, told just-food no announcement on Algeria had been made and declined to comment further on the reports.

The retailer is present in three African countries: Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt. However, it is looking to build its presence in Africa and recently formed a joint venture with consumer goods distributor CFAO to develop stores across eight more African countries. Its joint venture with CFAO is now looking at markets including Cameroon, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire.

For analysis of Carrefour’s new African venture with CFAO, click here.