Carrefour looks to boost profits at its Belgian unit

Carrefour looks to boost profits at its Belgian unit

Carrefour plans to cut its Belgian workforce by 11% as it closes or sells unprofitable stores in the market.

The French retailer has witnessed five years of decline in Belgium and last week posted a 2.9% drop in sales in the market during 2009.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed the company's cost-cutting plans, which were detailed in a press conference in Brussels this afternoon (23 February).

“There are considerable cost savings that are necessary to improve profitability,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said Carrefour will close 21 unprofitable outlets in the country by 30 June, with the loss of 1,672 jobs.

The spokesperson declined to rule out further closures and, according to reports, Carrefour is in talks over the possibility of selling 17-20 more outlets.

Carrefour will also look to reduce its wage bill by transferring employees to a new collective bargaining agreement and freezing salaries at its Belgian headquarters.

The spokesperson added that Carrefour aimed to save EUR25m (US$33.8m) by renegotiating contracts with suppliers.

At the same time, Carrefour will invest EUR300m over the next three years to refurbish its Belgian outlets.